- 13 May 2016 12:00 AM
The South East’s electricity distributor, UK Power Networks, is joining talks with Amber Rudd MP in Hastings aimed at tackling fuel poverty.
Matt Rudling, director of customer services at UK Power Networks, is one of the experts speaking on a panel looking at community-led solutions to support people struggling to heat their homes at Sussex Coast College today (May 13).
The session is looking at the future impact which decentralised energy schemes, local energy, local tariffs, virtual power plants and ‘smart energy’ technology may have on households facing fuel poverty.
UK Power Networks is leading ‘Energywise’, a pioneering £5million Low Carbon Networks Fund trial in East London that is helping hundreds of people struggling to pay their energy bills. Customers are advised how to reduce their electricity consumption and so save money.
Matt said: “People don’t pay their bills direct to us but we run the networks which deliver power supplies to the South East, East and London. In these areas, one of the best ways we help those struggling with their electricity bills, is keeping our proportion of the bill as low as possible and customers in our area enjoy the lowest prices in the UK.
“Cold homes affect people’s lives in the UK and we do our utmost to provide extra care and services for customers who are in fuel poverty by running energy workshops, giving efficiency advice and referring people to organisations that can help. All sorts of people can find themselves in ‘fuel poverty’ and we work with as many partners as possible to try to identify innovative solutions which can make a practical difference to daily lives, keeping people warm and well.”
Richard Watson OBE, founder of Energise Sussex Coast, said: “We welcome the involvement of UK Power Networks in addressing fuel poverty in Hastings and the South East and see today's event as a huge opportunity for our network of community energy champions to support the communities we represent here in Hastings and across the region."
Chaired by Energise Sussex Coast, a variety of organisations are taking part in the event including researchers from Sussex and Oxford universities, National Energy Action, Community Energy South and Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative.
There will also be a review of recent research projects and case studies on the topic of fuel poverty. A summary of findings and policy recommendations is due to be presented to Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
The group will also receive an update on Climate Active Neighbourhoods, an EU-funded scheme running over the next three years in Hastings to provide energy efficiency improvements for local homes.