Smart Energy GB launches new fund to support smart meter rollout

Smart meterA new fund has opened to not-for-profit organisations which can help engage people and communities across Britain with information about how to get and use smart meters.

The Smart Energy GB in Communities Fund has been launched by Smart Energy GB, the voice of the smart meter rollout. Every home in Britain will be offered a smart meter by 2020 at no additional cost, and Smart Energy GB is responsible for helping everyone in Great Britain understand smart meters, the national rollout and how to use the new meters to get their gas and electricity under control.

The Smart Energy GB in Communities Fund is seeking applications from not-for-profit organisations that can reach those who may face barriers to getting a smart meter, including:

  • District heating customers (district heating is a system where a communal source of heat is shared with other properties)
  • People lacking proficiency in English (or Welsh in Wales)
  • People lacking basic digital skills
  • People with a learning disability
  • People with low literacy
  • People with memory impairment
  • People with no personal internet access
  • Off-gas grid customers
  • Prepay customers
  • Private tenants
  • People with severe or profound deafness
  • Social housing tenants
  • Small grants of up to £10,000 are now available for community organisations who will work directly with one or more of the priority groups on projects to be completed in 2016. Applications will open from 6th June for large grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 for regional organisations that will help reach priority groups.

    Alongside the fund, a new online resource centre will offer materials, such as posters, leaflets and training resources, to any organisation that wants to help people benefit from smart meters.

    The announcement is part of the Smart Energy GB in Communities programme, which is delivered by a consortium of charities - National Energy Action and Energy Action Scotland, Media Trust, and Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

    Sacha Deshmukh, chief executive of Smart Energy GB, said: “Our job at Smart Energy GB is to make sure absolutely everyone in Britain knows about and can benefit from smart meters. One of the biggest and most important challenges we face is reaching people who may not hear about smart meters through traditional routes, or who might need additional support to understand how they could benefit. These are often the people who will experience the most profound transformation in how their smart meters could help them get their gas and electricity under control.

    “We can’t meet this challenge alone. Through the Smart Energy GB in Communities Fund, we’ll work with the organisations who already work with the people we need to reach – the charities and community groups supporting people around the country.”

    David Stead, director of philanthropy at CAF, said: “We are delighted to be working with Smart Energy GB on this important campaign to help everyone in Great Britain understand and benefit from smart meters. CAF has considerable experience of running grant-making programmes and working with tens of thousands of charities across the country. Improving people’s lives is what charities do best. This fund provides a real opportunity for charities to make a difference by ensuring that no one gets left behind in reaping the advantages of the smart meter rollout.”

    Lord Bourne, energy minister, Department of Energy and Climate Change, added: “Everyone should have the same opportunities to have a smart meter installed and experience the benefits of accurate bills and being in control of your energy use. The grants programme is vital to support those non-for-profit organisations who go above and beyond the call of duty to help people in need.”

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