Council’s proposal to help residents slash energy bills (From Echo)

Southend Council is proposing to launch a series of energy-saving initiatives to help residents combat the rising cost of energy bills.

These initiatives include setting up energy generation and storage devices for households to assist residents reduce their energy consumption. The council will also work with a list of vetted companies to supply energy devices, and market them to residents.

Councillor Ann Holland, responsible 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.”

Residents wanting to be part of the scheme would have their home fitted with an energy generation device, such as solar panels, along with a battery, which would store and release the energy generated.

The householder could also use energy from their battery to power their home or sell it back to the grid at times of peak energy demand. The council will also consider other financial support options to residents. These include discounts offered to residents if they pay their energy bill in full upfront.

A council spokesman said: “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.”

Councillor Mark Flewitt, responsible for housing, planning and sustainability, said: “I think what the council is trying to do is really good because the proposal has loads of special packages available to help those who are not financially well-off. If we’re going to have a bad winter we need to make sure people can keep warm in their homes.”

The council will meet in next week. 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.

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