Wealden District Council

Smart Energy gets noticed

Media Release : 04 October 2017

Following on from the success of its recent Big Wealden Switch campaigns, Wealden District Council has been shortlisted for its community approach to encouraging sustainability in local parishes.

Big Switch logo

The Wealden Smart Energy Parish initiative visited 11 parishes this January to hold engagement events to talk to residents about energy bills and smart meters. It has been nominated as a finalist in this year’s SHIFT awards, encouraging sustainability in the housing sector.
“As a local authority with limited resources and a wide district to cover, our emphasis has always been on team work and applying for additional funding opportunities,” said Councillor Graham Wells, Cabinet member with responsibility for Housing. “Justin Bailey and our housing staff have worked with local engagement specialists and Wealden Citizens Advice to share important messages about saving money on energy bills. With many of our residents on fixed incomes, the advice we can give will help local people stay warm over winter and create more sustainable communities.
“Partnership working has been the key to making sure we help as many people as possible.”
By working together, the Council has been able to reach 15,000 rural residents using leaflets, talks to community groups, articles in parish magazines and social media.
As well as savings on their energy bills, eligible residents were able to claim Warm Home Discount, which can reduce a domestic electricity bill by £140, as well as clear fuel debts and claim unclaimed benefits.
The target audience for the campaign was rural residents who are not connected to the gas network. The Smart Energy Initiative has also been looking at sharing information about the new V-Charge technology, a device fitted to existing old storage heaters so that they make use of available renewable energy. Trials are expected to take place shortly before a wider roll-out.
The Smart Energy Parishes project, alongside other collaborative work with the East Sussex Energy Partnership to support the National Energy Action’s Warm and Healthy Homes Fund, has resulted in nearly £80,000 being spent on new heating systems and boilers to help those suffering in cold homes.
The Wealden Smart Energy Initiative has been shortlisted in the Best Sustainability Team section of the 2017 SHIFT Awards. The winners will be announced at a ceremony at Plaisterers’ Hall in London on 30 November.