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Tuesday 24th May, 2016

Consumer Watch: it pays to be smart

Posted by Kirsty Lambert

Grants and initiatives to promote smart meters for more accurate billing


Smart meters have the potential to revolutionise the provision of community heating, putting customers at the centre of their energy systems. But many people remain unaware of the benefits, and in some cases are concerned over how the data accumulated by such meters is used.

To reassure and inform, a new fund has been launched by Smart Energy GB to provide not-for-profit organisations with grants to engage people and communities across Britain with information on how to get and use smart meters. The fund will prioritise organisations close to those that face barriers to getting a smart meter - such as communication problems or other disabilities, or technical restrictions.

Grants of up to £10,000 are already available for community organisations to work directly with these priority groups on projects to be completed in 2016.  And from 6th June applications will open for larger grants of between £10,000 and £25,000. 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.

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.”  

The fund 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). CAF, which has 45 years’ experience in designing and delivering strategic grant-making programmes, will manage the fund.

“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,” said David Stead, Director of Philanthropy at CAF. “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 said: “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.”

The installation of smart heat meters is part of a bigger plan to install 53 million smart energy meters of all types by 2020 – among the biggest national infrastructure projects of our lifetimes, which will enable a more efficient energy system for Great Britain. The programme is already underway, with over three million installed.

Looking further ahead, an industry initiative, known as the H2020 STORM project, aims to use self-learning algorithms to make community heating even smarter and more flexible in the future.


  • Not all people are aware of the huge benefits smart meters can bring.
  • Smart Energy GB has set up a fund to help communicate the benefits, especially with hard to reach groups.
  • Grants of up to £10,000 are already available, with larger grants on offer from June
  • The fund is part of the Smart Energy GB in Communities programme, which is delivered by a consortium of charities.
  • The smart heat meter rollout is part of a bigger plan to install 53 million smart energy meters across the UK.

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Joined up thinking: Putting residents at the centre of your community heating scheme

Kirsty Lambert

Business Development Director at Switch2

A skilled director and leader with both operational and commercial experience, Kirsty has over 10 years’ experience in the community and district heating industry.

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