Council considers bold initiative to help residents combat rising energy costs

September 12, 2017 by SBC

Tuesday 12 September

Thousands of Southend households could be helped to combat rising energy prices by having electricity generation and storage devices fitted into their homes.

The Council’s cabinet is to consider a report on 19 September (agenda item 15), recommending that the Council compiles and promotes a pre-vetted list of energy generation suppliers and storage devices that could help residents reduce their energy consumption and bills.

Residents wanting to be part of the scheme would typically see their home fitted with a form of energy generation, such as solar panels, along with a battery, which would store and release the energy generated. The householder would then be able to use energy from their battery to power their home or sell it back to the grid at times of peak energy demand.

There would be a range of finance options available to householders, from a lump-sum payment upfront followed by a higher level of return on energy sold, through to a zero-deposit option, where residents pay gradually through the savings they have made.

Suppliers on the list would be bound by a set of minimum standards, set and monitored by the Council in conjunction with the trade, so that local residents can have confidence in the product and service of the supplier they chose.

The scheme would be launched with an initial £50,000 investment from the Council to fund a full-time member of staff to administer the project along with a small budget to market it. After this initial investment, it is anticipated that the project would become self-funding through referral fees paid by the approved suppliers to the Council.

Cllr Ann Holland, Executive Councillor for Culture, Tourism and the Economy, said: “Energy prices look set to rise for the foreseeable future at the same time as nationally, the demand for electricity is outstripping our ability to generate it.

“What we are considering is a potential solution to both these issues: a means for local residents to reduce their energy bills and a way of helping to balance electricity supply and demand.

“This would result in hard-pushed householders being better able to keep their homes warm - known to be a major contributor to health - lower carbon-emissions through the adoption of green technology, and an electricity network that is less vulnerable to power cuts.”

If approved by cabinet, the report would have to be considered by the Place Scrutiny and Full Council before adoption. If approved, it could be launched by spring next year.