30th March 2020
First of all, the Energy Local team sincerely hopes that you, your loved ones and your communities are staying well and coping in these difficult times.
As you’d expect, new working restrictions are taking their toll on Energy Local operations. Both our team and our supplier, Octopus Energy, are working successfully from home, but Octopus has now had to stop visiting homes to install smart meters. And as you know, those smart meters have to be in place in order to join an Energy Local Club.
So does this mean no Clubs can get up and running?
No – we shall work to get some Clubs up and running as quickly as we can. Temporarily, these Clubs will have a smaller number of members than planned – only people whose smart meters have already been installed can be switched to become members. But once these Clubs are up and working, they will be ready to quickly take in the new members as soon as their smart meters can be installed once the crisis is over.
Which Clubs are ready for this?
Energy Local now has several Clubs open for switching, and these are the ones that we shall focus on just now – Bethesda, Bridport (the first Club in England!), Corwen and Machynlleth. Close behind are Llandysul (which was due to open up for switching this week) and Abergwyngregyn (hopefully in the next month or two, to be confirmed). For other Clubs that are at earlier stages in the process, work will continue to move things along with as little delay as possible.
What happens to people without a smart meter?
For those who have moved to Octopus, they will continue to get electricity from them until their smart meter is installed and can join their local Club. All the electricity Octopus supply is 100% renewable, and they have an excellent customer support. What’s more, being an innovative and dynamic firm, they have been able to switch to home working in a way and continue good customer service that some energy suppliers are struggling to do.
For those in a Club or with Octopus but without a meter, we are planning to offer smart plugs to help them schedule appliances in the home whilst we wait to expand the Clubs.
Staying positive, working together
Naturally, a slowdown in rolling out the Clubs that you, and we, have worked so hard to set up is a blow for everyone. But we want to keep positive and be ready for when we can get back up to speed again.
We want to thank all our Advisors and members for their support and will do everything we can to support you. Essentially, community is what Energy Local is about, and you’ll probably agree it’s never been more important.
Smart Energy Savings (SENS) Innovation Competition
Energy Local has now started a government supported project to demonstrate the benefits of projects such as Energy Local and the use of smart meters.
The government department BEIS – through funded market research company Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London – would like access to the anonymised metering data of Energy Local Club participants who have agreed to be part of the trial. This project will look at how using Energy Local can save people money and they will verify the savings made.
We’d like as many Energy Local Club members to join in. This will help fund Energy Local to roll out to more Clubs. If you would like to take part, you will need to be an Energy Local Club member and have your account on the Energy Local Portal ready for switching after your Club is open for switching.
Demand Side Response Project expanding to a wider range of appliances
Our BEIS-funded DSR project – working with Energy Local member volunteers to allow a home hub device to schedule appliances when cheaper electricity is available – is progressing, but again, the current Covid-19 situation is slowing things down.
We have implemented a way to schedule dishwashers and washing machines and have now extended to Electric Vehicle charging.
A big thank you to all those volunteers currently in the Bethesda Club who are patiently testing out a home hub and other items on this project for us!
Coming soon to Devon
One of our partners in Devon is getting closer to setting up an Energy Local Club in Blackawton. They have identified some potential generators and have set up a Club page on our website where they are recruiting potential members. You can express your interest by registering yourself here: https://energylocal.org.uk/group/21.
They are also looking at setting up a Club in Buckfastleigh – watch this space!
If you would like more information on either of these Clubs you can contact Sune Nightingale here.
Energy Local Bethesda in The Times
The EL Bethesda Club and locally generated hydro energy was featured at The Times article "Times Christmas Appeal: Green power runs on river water and Welsh community spirit" published on 3rd January 2020.
An evening of Panad ac Ynni in Bethesda
On 30th Jan 2020, Energy Local held an event, in partnership with Partneriaeth Ogwen and Cyd Ynni, to answer any customer questions or concerns on billing and energy saving solutions. The event was dubbed “Panad ac Ynni” (or Coffee and Chat in English). There were cakes, coffee, tea and a lot of interest!
Thank you to all who came to see us and for all your much-appreciated feedback.
We look forward to making this a reoccurring event soon.
Have a warm Spring everyone and stay safe!
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