New funding will address fuel poverty in rural areas

Peterborough City Council has been successful in a bid to secure £145,000 in funding to install innovative fuel and heating systems at rural homes.

The funding comes from a GB-wide programme designed and administered by National Energy Action, the national fuel poverty charity. The Technical Innovation Fund pays for community-level trials of innovative solutions using measures that sit outside the scope of current fuel poverty and energy efficiency programmes.

The money will be used to improve 54 properties in Eye and Thorney, areas which have higher than average statistics for fuel poverty compared to other areas in Peterborough mainly due to large numbers of dwellings being off the gas grid.

Funding was awarded to the council on the basis that it would address fuel poverty by using innovative solutions other than measures like external wall insulation.

These solutions will be either battery storage and building management control and infra-red heating and hot water solutions.

Councillor John Holdich, Leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “We are pleased National Energy Action has recognised a real opportunity for the council to deliver an innovative, cost effective and achievable programme.

"In remote communities there are often large numbers of dwellings without any form of central heating and poor energy efficiency, resulting in fuel poverty gap.

"The council has had a lot of success in our efforts to address fuel poverty in urban areas of the city. This funding will act as driver for our work to tackle it in rural areas.

“Our project has been designed to help these residents in Eye and Thorney and will fund 27 properties for battery storage and controls and 27 properties for infrared heating and hot water.”

Councillor Holdich added: "By utilising existing partners that have undergone extensive due diligence we can ensure both quality and value for money for NEA and a great customer experience for householders."

The first installations are scheduled to start in late Spring. Once complete, the results will then be fully evaluated to demonstrate the impact they have had in Peterborough.

Jenny Saunders OBE, Chief Executive of NEA said: "The Technical Innovation Fund is a new and exciting programme for NEA. We know that the solutions to tackling fuel poverty require innovation and need to be tailored to local communities. This fund has given us the opportunity to test out a range of solutions."

Reducing residents' energy costs is an area of ongoing focus for the council. In April 2015 it formed a partnership with Ovo Energy to create a new gas and electricity tariff, Peterborough Energy. Since launch, residents that have switched to the new tariff have saved more than £500,000 on their bills.

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