1. The basics
a. Who are Energy Local (Ynni Lleol)?
Energy Local (Ynni Lleol) is a small, non-profit, organisation set up to show how local communities and small-scale renewables can get better value from the electricity market by working together.
b. Who runs Energy Local CIC?
Energy Local CIC (Community Interest Company) has two paid directors; Dr Mary Gillie and Dr Linda Hilton. Read more about the Energy Local CIC team here.
c. What is an Energy Local Club?
An Energy Local Club is legally a Cooperative. It is the local group of households who form a Club with a local renewable energy generator to use this power in order to get a better deal for everyone.
2. The benefits
a. What’s in it for me?
Joining your Energy Local Club has many benefits:
- Keeping money in the local community - stimulating the local economy
- Saving you money on your bills
- Supporting local renewable energy – creating a greener country and supporting the community.
b. How does the local community benefit?
Through Energy Local, participants will pay ~7p/kWh when they match their electricity use to the local generation, compared to 5-6p/kWh normally received by a generator. The price benefits the generator, by increasing its income and keeping it within the community. It is also cheaper for participants than a normal electricity price.
c. How much will I save?
This will be different from household to household and will depend on how you match your energy use to the local generation and the amount of peak and off-peak electricity you use. We estimate you could save around 10% - 30% on your electricity bills.
d. How will the Energy Local Clubs earn an income to meet annual running costs?
The Energy Local Club’s members can agree to receive a small fee each year from members. It is up to the members to collectively agree on how much this should be. We may be able to charge this on your bill. The income can be used to pay the administrative costs of running the Energy Local Club - legally a cooperative - such as accounting, and paying for the costs of holding an annual general meeting (AGM).
3. Time of Use Tariff
a. What is a Time of Use Tariff?
Sometimes it will be possible to match all of the electricity you use to locally-generated electricity. At other times you will use more than is available. For the extra electricity, you will be charged at different rates for this depending on the time of day – these rates will be cheaper during the night and at lunchtime, more expensive at breakfast and tea time. This is called a “Time of Use Tariff”. You can find more details about the price of your Clubs tariff from them.
4. The Local Power
a. What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is energy that’s generated from renewable resources such as wind, water, anaerobic digestion of green waste and sunlight. Hydro-electric stations, wind turbines and solar panels can harvest renewable energy for us to power our lives.
b. Why is my electricity cheaper when I match it up to a local renewable generation?
Along with local households, a local renewable energy generator is also a member of the Club. The Club agrees a price that households will pay for the electricity they use when the local renewable energy is being generated. This price will be higher than what the local renewable generator would normally receive, but lower than what the households would normally pay. So, everyone wins!
c. How will I save money by using locally generated renewable electricity?
You will have a smart meter which will measure how much electricity you use every half an hour. The electricity you use when your local renewables are generating will be the cheapest electricity on offer to you as a member of your Energy Local Club.
d. What is my share of the locally-generated renewable electricity?
The renewable electricity generated locally will be shared equally between the Energy Club households who are using electricity at the time. Sometimes your share will be enough to cover all the electricity you are using during that time, at other times you will be buying a mix of electricity from the locally-generated renewable energy and electricity on the Time of Use Tariff.
There may be a limited number of days of the year where your local renewable energy station is closed for maintenance. You will be able to see a forecast on your Energy Dashboard.
By shifting your electricity to off-peak times it’s more likely that there will be a share of the locally-generated renewable energy available that will cover the amount of electricity you are using.
The balance between the amount of electricity you buy at the low locally-generated renewable energy price and the amount that you buy on a time of use tariff will depend on the total amount of power being generated and how big your share of that power is.
e. How will I know when my electricity use is matching the renewable generation?
You will have a smart meter fitted which measures how much electricity you are using every half an hour. So you will be able to show when you have been using power when the local renewable energy was being generated. We will also have an ‘Energy Dashboard’ that you can view on a smartphone or laptop. It will give you a forecast of how much power will come from the local renewable energy each day, so you will have an idea in advance of how much of your use could be matched to it.
f. What if I'm not sure how much electricity I use?
We plan to provide an ‘Energy Dashboard’ to view on a smartphone or tablet to display your electricity use each half hour.
We will provide tips and advice to help you manage your electricity use, show you how you could use less electricity and shift your use to cheaper times of the day.
g. I have solar panels on my house, can they be included in Energy Local?
Yes, solar can also be included. Please indicate that you have them on the Energy Local Portal, when you enter your details. Please note that this is a new feature of Energy Local and we may need to discuss this on a case by case basis.
5. Shifting Power
a. Why is it important to try to reduce peak-time electricity use?
To make the most of being part of your Energy Local Club, it will be important to make an effort to reduce the amount of electricity you use at peak times (breakfast and evening) as these are the most expensive. If the generator is operating there will be some local power but these times are typically when electricity use is greatest, so your share of the local renewable energy is less likely to cover all your electricity use at this time.
By shifting your electricity use to other times of day, you will avoid high Time of Use Tariff prices and your share of local renewable generation is likely to cover more of your usage.
b. What kinds of things can I do to shift my electricity use away from peak times?
Many of the actions you can take are simple – such as running your dishwasher, washing machine, charging an electric car at off-peak times of the day (you can use the delay start function provided on your Energy Dashboard). We will provide a range of advice and encouragement to Club members once you’re on the tariff. We will also have some small group meetings or drop in sessions where there will be advice.
6. Changing electricity suppliers
a. Do I have to change suppliers?
Yes, you will have to change to the supplier chosen by your Energy Local Club.
b. Do I have to change my gas to the same supplier too?
No, you can stick with your existing gas supplier if you wish and if they offer a gas only tariff. However, the supplier for Energy Local offers a dual fuel option.
c. Will I still pay a standing charge for my electricity use?
Yes. The amount you pay will depend on where your club is and will be published on the club’s page on the Energy Local Portal, once it has been confirmed.
See energylocal.org.uk and select your club for details.
d. How will I be billed?
Your supplier will send you your bill for everything. You’ll receive your energy bills via email or post – depending on which option you select. You’ll pay via direct debit.
e. What's a smart meter and why do I need one?
A smart meter measures how much electricity and gas you are using every half an hour and sends the information to your supplier without you needing to read the meter. You will need to have a smart meter so that your supplier can ensure you are charged the correct prices.
Your smart meter will be fitted by the supplier and you will not be charged. The smart meter will remain where it is if you leave Energy Local or move house.
You will need to give permission for the electricity supplier and Energy Local CIC and partners to see your half-hourly data – you are in control.
f. What if I am on a fixed tariff with my supplier at the moment with a penalty for leaving them?
It is up to you to decide whether you want to switch to Energy Local straight away and pay the penalty.
g. What if I am coming to the end of a fixed tariff before my club is ready to switch?
If there is no cost-effective tariff without a penalty charge for leaving early with your existing supplier, switch to the best tariff with your Club's supplier and then you can move to Energy Local when they are ready.
h. What if I move house?
Unless there is a club where you are moving to or you are staying in your club area, you will have to leave the Club when you move house (see below)
- Please inform the supplier that you are moving house.
- Please let the new residents know (or leave a message) that you are in the Club, give them the weblink. Please ask them to give the supplier their contact details and sign up on the portal so the Club can contact them.
- If you are moving into a house in the Club area or to another Club area: Please let your supplier know that you have moved as they will need to fit a smart meter in your new house. As above, please tell the new residents of your old house about Energy Local.
i. What if I want to leave the scheme?
We hope you don't have reason to want to leave but if you need to, please inform your supplier. It may take a couple of weeks to remove you from the club. Your supplier will then send you new terms and conditions. You may have to provide meter readings again as it may not be practical for them to collect readings automatically. If you do not wish to stay with the supplier under those new terms, you are then free to move to another supplier if you wish. Please also let your Club know that you are leaving.
7. Who can take part?
a. I’m a small business, can I be part of the Energy Local Club?
Yes. Please enter your details into the portal and indicate that you are a small business.
b. Can I take part if I don’t live in the area of a Club?
Currently, we have Clubs in five areas and we hope to have more soon. Please let us know you are interested.
c. Must I own my home?
No, but you must be the person paying the electricity bill. If you pay rent with bills included or someone else pays your bill, then you can always suggest that they join Energy Local.
d. I am on Economy 7, can I join in?
Yes, but you will need to have a smart meter fitted and move to the Time of Use Tariff with everyone else. Electricity during the night will still be cheaper but there will be four tariffs instead of two.
e. I am on a pre-payment meter, can I join in?
We hope to include prepayment in the next few months. Please make an Expression of Interest at energylocal.org.uk and we will keep you informed.
8. Some Practicalities
a. How can I give an expression of interest?
Please sign up online at energylocal.org.uk
b. Who can I speak to if I have a question?
The electricity supplier will answer questions about your bill and account. For tips on shifting or reducing electricity use, the Energy Dashboard and the Energy Local Club, contact your local representatives. Their details should be on the Club page at energylocal.org.uk
c. How will you send me information?
The easiest way is for us to email you information. We understand that for some people this is not practical and we can contact you via post. The ‘Energy Dashboard’ webpage shows your electricity use (this is only visible to you) the Club’s and when the local renewable electricity is being generated.
d. Can I leave my Energy Local Club?
Yes. If for unforeseen circumstances you need to leave, you can move to the electricity supplier’s standard tariff or switch supplier.
e. Are there any additional requirements to be a member of the Club? Do I have to help run the Energy Local Club or contribute in anyway
You do not have to help run the Club or contribute time, although we would like you to be involved. We ask members to answer a survey about once a year, and we’d really appreciate it if you did.
f. What is a kWh?
This is the unit of energy that is used to measure how much electricity you use. For example, using an electric oven to roast a chicken would use approximately 2 kWh of electricity. Watching TV for an hour would use about 0.1 kWh.
9. Data protection
a. Who will be able to see my electricity bills?
The half-hourly data will replace your meter readings and the electricity supplier will use this to bill you according to when you have used power. To be part of Energy Local you need to give permission for them to see and use this data. This is standard practice. If you choose to switch and join the Club you will be asked to give permission at this point.
Energy Local partners will use the data to contact you and analyse the performance of the Energy Local scheme.
10. The people behind the project
a. Who runs Energy Local CIC?
Energy Local CIC has two paid directors; Dr Mary Gillie and Dr Linda Hilton and a board of non-executives. Read more about Energy Local CIC here.
b. Apart from Energy Local, who else is involved?
You can see a list of our partners on http://www.energylocal.co.uk/partners-and-sponsors/
c. Who is funding Energy Local?
The partners involved are receiving grant funding from a range of sources including:
- Welsh Government/Energy Saving Trust
- EU Rural Development Programme
- Esme Fairbairn Trust
- Tudor Trust
You can see the other funders who have supported Energy Local on their website http://www.energylocal.co.uk/partners-and-sponsors/