For the past few years, CAG has been working with UK Power Networks on their pioneering initiative energywise. This project is exploring how nearly 300 residents in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, who may be struggling with fuel bills, can reduce their energy costs by changing the way they use electricity. CAG has provided support on the recruitment and engagement of customers and has been responsible for running regular participant panels designed to gain feedback on the project.
The research shows that participants were able to save money by reducing their energy consumption on average by 3.3% a year, which is the equivalent of using 5% less electricity at peak times. It proved that customers who may struggle to pay their energy bills can save just as much as any other demographic once they are engaged in the smart meter rollout.
The participants were approached and guided by customer advisers who were working in close collaboration with local community groups to explain the potential benefits of the programme and how it would be implemented in customers’ homes.
The initiative was well received by local residents, with a 40% uptake on the programme. More than 85% of active participants have now chosen to take part in a second trial investigating different tariffs that have significant potential to benefit customers.
The results of the study will be used to inform policy makers and local authorities, energy suppliers, charities and housing bodies working with fuel poor households to ensure the smart meter roll-out goes smoothly for everyone. It has gathered invaluable insights on how to deliver energy efficiency measures, including smart meters, to hard-to-reach customers and has demonstrated how to remove barriers to energy-saving opportunities among households who need it the most.
Further details can be found here.