ACE has received a grant to spread the word about smart meters amongst vulnerable energy consumers. It is one of just 18 national and regional organisations to receive a large grant from the Smart Energy GB in Communities fund.
Every home in Britain will be offered a smart meter by their energy supplier, at no extra cost, by 2020. Smart meters provide gas and electricity readings directly to suppliers, meaning an end to estimated billing. They also show people how much they are using in pounds and pence, via a hand-held in-home display.
This grant fund is a central part of Smart Energy GB’s work to ensure everyone in Great Britain hears about smart meters and knows how to use them to get their gas and electricity under control. It is working with partners across England, Scotland and Wales to reach people who may face barriers to claiming or using their smart meter.
ACE has received £10681.00 from Smart Energy GB, the national campaign for the smart meter rollout. The funding will be used to recruit and train a team of 12 smart meter champions from across South Wales. Each champion will be supported to deliver a minimum of 6 outreach sessions promoting the uptake and use of smart meters with community groups most likely to be disengaged from the energy market.
The fund is managed by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), which has 45 years’ experience in designing and delivering strategic grant-making programmes. It is part of the Smart Energy GB in Communities programme, which is being delivered by a consortium of charities – National Energy Action (NEA) and Energy Action Scotland (EAS), Media Trust, and CAF – to help ensure no one is left behind in the smart meter rollout.
Sam Froud-Powell Community Energy Officer:
“We know this project is needed through experience of working with our target groups on projects tackling fuel poverty. The organisations involved share a concern that many vulnerable consumers may either refuse to install a smart meter when offered one or not be able to make the most of the potential benefits. This will be due to many factors, depending on the individual, but our work with these target groups suggest it is likely to include:
– lack of trust in energy suppliers
– Prepay customers thinking smart meters are not relevant to them
– not understanding the technology / potential benefits
Working in partnership with Cardiff based organisations – Splott, Tremorfa, Adamsdown and Roath (STAR) Communities First, Care and Repair, Hafod Housing and Riverside Advice, Champions will be already working with our target groups, they will be able to provide tailored and informal sessions explaining the benefits of smart meters which should be more likely to successfully engage participants.”
Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of Smart Energy GB, said:
“Smart meters are transforming the way we buy and use energy. Our job at Smart Energy GB is to make sure that everyone in Britain knows what a smart meter is, how to get one, and how to use it to get their gas and electricity under control.
“We know we can’t do this job alone. We rely on expert partners to share information in ways that work for people who may need additional support to understand how to get and use a smart meter. We’re delighted to be working with ACE through Smart Energy GB in Communities, to ensure everyone has the information they need to benefit from this transformative new technology.”