Council tenants could save up to £300 a year on fuel bills and reduce the city’s carbon footprint, under plans for an innovative community energy scheme.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s cabinet will next week (Tuesday 22 May) rule on a programme that would use solar power to lower fuel bills to at least £296 less than current prices by the country’s major energy suppliers, and would be available across all 18,000 council houses.
Councillor Randy Conteh, cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “This is a unique opportunity for all of our tenants – the chance to save hundreds of pounds on their energy bills and to drastically cut carbon emissions by using energy that is fully renewable. It is an investment in our housing stock for the future.”
“We’re committed to supporting all of our tenants, especially those households on a low income. The scheme would mean tenants would pay the same low price whether or not they have a pre-payment meter, if they pay as they go, or pay by direct debit.”
Under the community energy scheme, the council would work with one of the leading renewable energy providers in the UK market, Solarplicity. The company would install solar panels with battery storage onto suitable properties, and the energy generated would be supplied to tenants at a discounted rate.
There are numerous environmental benefits aligned with the scheme, including reducing carbon emissions, helping to improve the city’s air quality and protecting the environment.
- the scheme would benefit tenants directly by: estimated £296 in the first year.
- providing tenants with the ‘Fair Market Price’ which is guaranteed to always be cheaper than the major national energy suppliers.
- removing confusing standing charges – you only pay for what you use
- flexible ways to pay – PAYG, direct debit, or monthly manual payments, and everyone pays the same rate
- solar panels and a solar storage system on your home funded by Solarplicity
- free supply of money-saving LED lightbulbs for the duration of your membership in the scheme
- a free smart meter with in-home display to enable you to manage your energy bills and be smarter about the way you pay (no more estimated bills)
- annual cashback – as a member of the scheme all tenants will receive an annual cash back payment
Initial research by Solarplicity indicates that around 10,800 council houses could be suitable for solar panels, and many more could be suitable once physically inspected. Importantly, under the scheme, all households would be able to join the initiative and take advantage of the benefits and savings.
Councillor Anthony Munday, cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, said: “We’re serious about improving our city’s environment today, tomorrow and for future generations to enjoy. We’re already laying the first pipes in a district heat network that will help to power houses and businesses. We’re tackling fly-tipping and litter that can blight communities and cause environmental hazards. The community energy scheme would bring huge benefits to thousands of tenants, especially helping those on low incomes get the energy they need at a fraction of the price.”
Solarplicity is a UK-based company that has already installed more than 30,000 rooftop solar panels on social housing in the UK, including in Ealing, West London. If approved by cabinet, the scheme could launch as early as June.
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