A scheme that pays for the preparation work needed for energy efficiency measures to be installed in fuel-poor households

What problem are you solving?

Sometimes, when fuel-poor customers are eligible for energy efficiency measures, such as ECO, installation may not progress since there is a gap in funding as nobody funds the preparation works that are required before the installation can begin; eg, clearing a loft before insulation can be laid, or clearing undergrowth before cavity walls can be insulated.

This is a well targeted, very cost-effective, scheme that enables fuel poverty measures to be installed in some of the most vulnerable households that might otherwise not be able to have them.

Where is your project based? (if local)

We have two distribution network areas; one is in central southern England with 2.9 million customers, the other covers north of the Central Belt in Scotland, including the Highlands, Islands, Orkney and Shetland with 740,000 customers; for the purposes of this submission, we will refer to the latter.

For a more detailed overview of the areas we cover, please visit https://www.ssen.co.uk/WhereWeOperate/

How do you do this?

SSEN has established a successful partnership with Warmworks since June 2016 to help customers out of fuel poverty and make their homes warmer.  Warmworks itself is a partnership between the Energy Saving Trust, Everwarm and Changeworks. Warmworks delivers the Scottish Government’s nationwide energy efficiency scheme, Warmer Homes Scotland.  The scheme provides insulation, efficient heating and renewable technologies in the homes of households to deliver a sustainable who are struggling with the cost of high energy bills.

The funding of energy efficiency measures for vulnerable customers comes mainly from Warmer Homes Scotland, however to install these measures the household needs to be ready and prepared before work can begin e.g. to install loft insulation you need a clear loft.   Whilst fully fit people can do these preparations themselves, for elderly customers, or people with disabilities or mental ill health they often cannot prepare their homes to be ready for the work.

Moreover, as the energy efficiency measures being installed are normally means tested, these customers cannot afford to pay for someone else to do this work on their behalf.  SSEN makes the funds available for this work up front and Warmworks manage the end to end process and customer journey to prepare for and carry out the work.

What difference are you making?

Since June 2016 there have been 602 measures installed for 100 households, saving them each an average of £302 per year in fuel bills.  They have also benefitted from an average gain of 14 on SAP ratings and will collectively save 3.7 tonnes of CO2 a year. The lifetime cost benefit ratio on these installations is vast, so far we have invested £28,875.97 with estimated lifetime savings for customers over £483,344 – over 100 customers will benefit from lifetime savings of £4,883.

SSEN has made a funding commitment of £100,000 allowing Warmworks to embed the use of gap funding with customers in our Distribution Network Operator licence area, until 2023.