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Success factors – engaging the fuel poor in collective energy buying
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Success factors – engaging the fuel poor in collective energy buying


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  • 1. Success Factors – engaging thefuel poor in collective energybuyingPhil Beardmore
  • 2. Birmingham and Solihull Together– overall headlines•About 10,000 households engaged with thecampaign, only 1422 households registered theirinterest in being part of a collective switch as againstthe target of 4900 (29% of target)•158 households made 331 product switches duringthe period as against the target of 490 households(32% of target)•Funded by DECC
  • 3. Successful in reaching the fuel poor through aneighbourhood-based financial inclusion approachNechellsBirminghamSolihullNorth SolihullEngagement level with BST by ward inBirmingham and Solihull:
  • 4. Reaching some of the most deprivedpeople in England and Wales•Birmingham – 46% of expressions of interestcame from the most deprived 10% of places•Solihull – 21% of expressions of interest camefrom the most deprived 10% of places•Overall – 51% of expressions of interest camefrom places below average for deprivation.
  • 5. A strategic approach to communityengagement•Understanding that fuel poverty is a financial inclusion issue•Recognising where people experiencing multiple deprivationgo for help in their neighbourhood, and why•Co-production of the project with a range of 17 organisationsoverall, who were paid•In Nechells and in north Solihull, focus on NechellsCommunity First Network and Colebridge Trust asneighbourhood hubs and community gateways
  • 6. Some other lessons•The fuel poor tend to only check their bills when they are incrisis.•We have developed a rudimentary ‘segmentation’ model tounderstand motivations and barriers to switching. Lack ofconfidence in the switching process is most widespread, not alack of ‘trust’ in an abstract sense.•The market is not yet ready for a sufficiently powerfulcollective group to be formed that can occupy the middleground between consumer and supplier.
  • 7. Some other lessons•People need to be able to access energy advice on a range ofsubjects, all year round, rather than to be offered a short-term series of transactional interventions. This should includetariff advice using an enhanced social brokerage service.•Organisations delivering financial services to the fuel poor aredelivering energy advice anyway. Our job is to support andtrain them.•What we have learned from this project is already influencingthe delivery of other projects in Birmingham e.g. Stay WarmStay Well, Community Energy Fit.
  • 8. Thank you for listeningPhil Beardmore@philbeardmore