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Essex awarded funding to fight fuel poverty

22 Jun Essex awarded funding to fight fuel poverty

Essex community energy groups have secured a £20,000 grant from UK Power Networks to help combat rising fuel poverty among vulnerable groups across the county.

Community Energy South is supporting the community energy sector in Essex with the county council and has been given funds to help people in a ‘heat or eat’ dilemma, as part of almost £1 million granted by the country’s largest electricity distributor.

A total of 16 projects will share funding, under the fifth round of UK Power Networks’ Power Partners scheme, to offer energy advice and practical support to people who include young carers, refugees, vulnerable tenants, the disabled and those with mental health issues.

Power Partners was launched by UK Power Networks in 2019 to help local communities’ energy needs and refocused to respond to fuel poverty. The electricity distributor delivers safe and reliable supplies across the East of England.

Since the fund was launched 52 groups have received funding for their projects, supporting people taking steps to reduce their energy bills, maximising their income and applying for grants, or helping organisations make community spaces more energy efficient through insulation, heating or lighting upgrades.

Founded in 2013, Community Energy South’s work in Essex will upskill community energy groups in the county to help them deliver fuel poverty and energy resilience advice. Essex County Council is providing funding as well as UK Power Networks to make it £24,000 in total.

Local support will be provided to hundreds of Essex residents through existing community energy groups to fill a gap in services targeting those in vulnerable circumstances such as disabled or elderly people.

Ollie Pendered, CEO for Community Energy South, said: “Community Energy South is delighted to be working with Power Partners and upskilling the community energy groups across Essex to deliver much needed fuel poverty and energy advice to our communities.

“The cost of living crisis is putting a strain on many households across the country and empowering local trusted energy champions is essential to supporting local people to feel supported and informed.”
Giulia Privitera, social sustainability manager for UK Power Networks, said: “There are many people currently experiencing fuel poverty whose situation has been made worse by the pandemic, increased energy price cap and the cost of living crisis.

“Many are facing real financial difficulties keeping hard-to-heat homes warm, so we focused this round of Power Partners on targeted support to tackle fuel poverty through the community charities and organisations who can provide it in the most innovative way and engage with those most in need. We aim to reach as many people as possible living in vulnerable circumstances, on low income and in low energy efficiency properties.

“We work hard with our partners to improve our fuel poverty programme each year to maximise its impact on hard-to-reach communities. We look at what has changed for our customers so that we can continue to adapt and make a real, long-lasting difference to people’s lives.”