THE Smart Energy GB in Communities fund is now open for applications from charities and voluntary organisations, offering grants of up to £25,000 to help people who are in vulnerable circumstances understand the personal and national benefits of smart meters.
Funding streams are available to help those who are over 65s, carers and people on a low income, and applications must be received by 12 noon Friday 11th February 2022.
Smart Energy GB is the government-backed campaign helping everyone in Britain to understand the importance of smart meters and their benefits.
Smart meters automatically send accurate meter readings directly to energy suppliers and show how much energy is being used and how much it is costing in pounds and pence via a handy in-home display. Getting one installed means your bills are always accurate and smart meters are being offered to every household in Britain by energy suppliers, at no extra cost.
Smart meters are especially beneficial to customers in vulnerable circumstances, as they remove estimated billing and the need for manual meter readings, and also enable pre-pay customers to top up their meters from home.
The in-home display shows how much energy is used in near-real time, allowing customers to keep track of budgets and control their energy use. On top of the benefits to households, smart meters form part of an essential upgrade that will make Britain’s energy infrastructure smarter, greener and less wasteful.
With energy bills on the rise, the Smart Energy GB in Communities fund provides the opportunity for organisations to speak to over 65s and low-income households about the vital benefits smart meters could bring. In addition, funds are also available for organisations and groups reaching people who are unpaid carers.
Phillippa Brown, Deputy Director of Specialist Audiences at Smart Energy GB, said:
“Whether you are a previous or a new applicant, we’re looking forward to seeing the great ideas you have to spread the word about smart meters to members of our communities across Great Britain. We know from our experience of working with partners over the past six years that they help to provide credibility and trust to our messaging. They have built strong relationships within their communities and are therefore best placed to communicate the benefits that smart meters can bring.
“Smart meters have benefits for us all. In the home, they allow us to keep track of our energy costs and remove the inconvenience of taking meter readings. This could be of particular benefit to many vulnerable customers who are facing difficult times. We want our partners to help highlight how a simple upgrade to smart metres could help people to keep a closer eye on energy spending habits and reduce their day-to-day life admin.”
Caroline Mackinson, Project Coordinator at Citizens Advice Diss, Thetford and District, which received a grant to reach low-income households in 2021, said:
“The grant from Smart Energy GB enabled additional staffing and travel costs to attend a variety of outdoor and indoor events such as job fairs, food banks, lunch clubs, as well as market place events, to directly reach the target audience throughout Norfolk. These events have allowed us to reach large numbers of attendees as well as provide personalised face to face advice that has been limited at our offices since the start of the pandemic. The grant has given us additional staff and volunteer resource to help an increasing number of people on low incomes coming to us for help with their energy. We have been able to proactively contact low-income households and offer information about smart meters.”
The Smart Energy GB in Communities programme works with expert local organisations from the voluntary and public sectors to ensure people who may need extra information and support can understand the beneﬁts of smart meters and how to request an installation.
The bid fund is being coordinated by the charities National Energy Action (NEA) and supported by Energy Action Scotland (EAS).
Grants will be awarded to regionally-based organisations, with local networks, that have a trusted voice amongst people who are:
- Aged over 65: The total amount requested should be between £15,000 and £25,000
- On a low income: defined as having an annual household income of less than £14,000 before tax. The total amount of grant requested should be between £7,500 and £10,000
- Are carers: defined as someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health condition, or who needs extra help as they grow older. The total amount of grant requested should be £5,000.
Housing associations, registered charities and non-registered community groups are eligible to apply. Applications are also welcome from former applicants, both successful and unsuccessful.
Applications must be received by 12 noon Friday 11th February 2022 and funded activities must be completed by 7th December 2022.
Further information is available at: https://www.nea.org.uk/smart-meters/smart-fund/.