£40m to help communities cut energy bills

The Government has announced a £40 million competition to help local communities cut energy bills and keep homes warm. It is aimed at driving local initiatives to boost energy efficiency, […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The Government has announced a £40 million competition to help local communities cut energy bills and keep homes warm.

It is aimed at driving local initiatives to boost energy efficiency, reduce fuel poverty and encourage collective switching and purchasing. The move follows recent gas and electricity price rises which are expected to affect millions of households across the nation.

A total of £25 million is available to local councils in England to help improve thermal efficiency of homes in their local area. It is aimed specifically at helping low income and vulnerable people keep warm and cut heating costs by replacing boilers and loft and cavity wall insulation.

Another £10 million is also available for councils for Green Deal ‘pioneer’ projects, which can be used for different schemes aimed at promoting the Green Deal initiative. This includes whole house retrofits to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency to local residents or community events to raise awareness of what can be done.

The final £5 million is to help set up collective switching schemes in local areas. It is a way for consumers to group together through a trusted third party and use market power to negotiate lower energy bills.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “With prices rising and temperatures dropping, we want to make sure we are doing all we can to help vulnerable householders keep warm this winter. This funding will put local councils at the heart of action to get energy bills down, for instance helping low income householders upgrade old inefficient heating systems and insulate draughty homes.

“As well as helping even more councils showcase the benefits of energy efficiency, this funding will support the launch of initiatives to enable local residents to save money by clubbing together to get a better energy deal.”

The competition is open till the end of November and people can apply for cash in all three areas.