A government-backed scheme has opened to support voluntary organisations and charities as they encourage vulnerable people to adopt smart energy meters at home.

Smart Energy GB’s community fund will offer grants of up to £25,000 to organisations that promote awareness of smart meters and how they can help people affected by fuel poverty.

The ‘communities fund’ works with expert regional organisations from the voluntary and public sectors to ensure those who may need extra information or support understand how smart meters may help them manage their energy use and how to request an installation.

With energy bills on the rise, the funding streams are for organisations to speak to fuel poor households and people who struggle with technology – those defined as ‘lacking digital skills’ – about the vital benefits smart meters could bring.

Funds are also available for organisations and groups reaching people who are unpaid carers. Applications must be received by 12 noon Friday, 10th February 2023.

Smart Energy GB is the independent, non-profit, government-backed organisation that helps households and small businesses across Great Britain to understand how smart meters can benefit them, their families and the environment. A smart meter is being offered to every household in Britain by energy suppliers at no extra cost. More than half of British homes have got a smart meter.

In the home, the smart meter’s in-home display shows how much energy is used in near-real time and in pounds and pence, allowing people to keep track of budgets and better manage their energy use. This can be particularly helpful for many vulnerable customers during these difficult times. 

Smart meters also remove the inconvenience of taking manual meter readings as they automatically send accurate meter readings directly to energy suppliers. This is especially useful for customers in vulnerable circumstances, as there is no need for estimated bills or manual readings. For prepay customers, smart meters also make it possible to top up their meters from home.

On top of the benefits to households, smart meters form part of an essential upgrade that will make Britain’s energy infrastructure smarter, greener and less wasteful.

Aberdeen Care & Repair, which received a grant in 2022, report how their audience found the smart meter information incredibly useful. Peggy, who was informed about smart meters and energy efficiency by the organisation, now thinks about the most energy-efficient way to cook and loves that with a smart meter she “doesn’t have to worry about providing meter readings anymore”.

Last year the organisation ALIenergy (Argyll, Lomond & The Islands Energy Agency) received a grant to reach people across Scotland. 

ALIenergy said: “People are very happy if they can get a smart meter and tell us they find them a big improvement and helpful in terms of keeping an eye on their energy use so that they are less likely to be wasteful.”

Phillippa Brown, deputy director of specialist audiences, Smart Energy GB, said: “Whether you are a previous or a new applicant, we welcome the great ideas you have to spread the word about smart meters to your communities. The six years of experience we’ve had working with partners across Great Britain have proved the credibility and trust our partners hold in their communities and are therefore well placed to communicate the benefits that smart meters can bring.”

Further information is available at National Energy Action.