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The Government is pushing the Green Deal as a way of reducing our energy usage (and therefore our bills) as consumers. It also wants us to become much more aware of our buying power, advising consumers to use comparison and switching information to get the best deal on our fuel. Energy Secretary Edward Davey said: “With prices rising and temperatures dropping, we want to make sure we are doing all we can to help vulnerable householders keep warm this winter.

There will be £40 million available in a competition to reduce fuel bills and increase energy efficiency. The competition, run by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), has three strands, each with a separate pot of money up for grabs:

  • £25million to help householders keep warm this winter

Local councils in England can bid for up to £25 million to help improve thermal efficiency of homes in their area. This is aimed at helping low income and vulnerable people stay warm over the winter and aims to help cut heating costs by installing efficient new (and replacement) boilers plus loft and cavity wall insulation.

Davey states “This funding will put local councils at the heart of action to get energy bills down, for instance helping low income householders upgrade old inefficient heating systems and insulate draughty homes”.

  • £10 million to kick start Green Deal projects

£10 million is being made available for Green Deal ‘pioneer’ projects. Councils in England can apply to use this money for schemes aimed at promoting the Green Deal. It could include whole house retrofits and community engagement events to raise awareness of what can be done to improve energy efficiency. This Pioneer Places scheme builds on the investment made in seven Green Deal Low Carbon Cities, read more about his on our blog.

  • ‘Cheaper Energy Together’: £5 million to set up collective switching schemes

This aims to encourage groups to bilk-buy their energy. Councils and third sector organisations in England, Scotland and Wales can take advantage of this initiative by setting up local collective switching schemes. Collective purchasing and switching enables consumers to group together (using a trusted third party) to use market power when negotiating lower energy bills.

Davey explains  “As well as helping even more councils showcase the benefits of energy efficiency, this funding will support the launch of initiatives to enable local residents to save money by clubbing together to get a better energy deal.”

Potential bidders can apply for money under all of the competitions using a single application form. Each bid will be judged separately using a range of criteria including: impact on fuel poverty; value for money; and the potential for generating further investment in the future.

The closing date for applications is 30 November 2012.

Find out more about energy efficient products on our Green Living section which we have produced in conjunction with our partners Be Energy Smart.


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