Why we all need to act to tackle energy poverty and ensure a sustainable future

According to power grid operator Western Power Distribution (WPD), energy saving advice and support could be crucial in helping families avoid fuel poverty this winter.

WPD, which supports Save Energy Week (January 17-23), has helped 24,637 customers save over £11.5million on their household bills in 2021, thanks to its innovative Power programs Up and Affordable Warmth. And WPD won’t stop there. As part of its ambitious proposals set out in its recently published five-year business plan for 2023-2028, WPD has pledged to help a further 113,000 energy-poor customers save up to £60m on their energy bills. They will also help support more than 600,000 customers a year by delivering tailored smart energy action plans that will ensure customers in vulnerable situations can benefit from low-carbon technologies and changes to the power grid to enable the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

The company recently announced grants of £500,000 from its Community Matters fund to help local organizations provide energy saving advice and tackle fuel poverty. Beneficiaries include The Big Issue Foundation, which has received £9,417 to expand its energy saving consultancy work and plans to help vulnerable families and individuals save £29,000 on energy costs.

To coincide with Energy Conservation Week, WPD highlights the importance of simple energy saving tips to help save money on energy bills. These include:

  • Setting the timers for heating and hot water so that they only come on when needed;

  • Close curtains and use draft excluders around windows and doors to prevent heat from escaping;

  • Always turn off lights when leaving a room and don’t leave devices on standby or charging longer than necessary;

  • Boil only the amount of water needed and make a full load when using the washing machine, dryer or dishwasher;

  • Installation of a smart meter to track energy consumption and identify savings.

WPD has made its own energy savings as part of its ongoing commitment to be a net zero organization by 2028, 22 years ahead of the UK government’s target.

This includes consistently exceeding its target of a 5% reduction in building energy consumption and achieving an annual reduction each year, through increased employee awareness of energy conservation, installation motion sensors for lighting, improved air conditioning systems and higher energy efficiency ratings in new and renovated depots. All energy purchased by WPD is produced entirely from renewable sources, such as wind and solar.

Alison Sleightholm, WPD’s Director of Resources and External Affairs, said: “At WPD, we take our responsibility to our customers and to the environment very seriously.

“In this week of energy conservation, we want to help more customers than ever to save energy, both to reduce their bills and to ensure a sustainable future for all.”

Energy Saving Week is a national campaign run by Citizens Advice, Energy Saving Trust and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to help people save energy and reduce fuel costs.