Peterborough City Council offered between £5m to £20m in British Gas ECO Partnership

Cabinet has been asked to approve a strategic partnership between British Gas and Peterborough City Council which will see the organisations embark on a project worth between £5m and £20m to tackle fuel poverty in the city

British Gas has chosen Peterborough to be its partner of choice on this landmark programme as a result of the council’s reputation for energy innovation and forward-thinking in developing strategic programmes that benefit the community across the commercial, public and third sectors.

As part of the programme, British Gas will provide funding to upgrade energy inefficient homes by providing improvements such as cavity wall insulation and double glazing, which will create hundreds of local jobs.

The scheme, which is believed to be the first large-scale Energy Company Obligation since the introduction of the Green Deal, will also boost local employment. ECO works alongside Green Deal to provide additional support for energy efficiency packages, providing insulation methods to low income communities.

The project, which has been led by the council’s Executive Director of Strategic Resources, John Harrison, and Council Leader, Councillor Marco Cereste, will offer up to 600 jobs created in Peterborough and surrounding areas to carry out the work, particularly aimed at young people not in education, employment or training. The project is also expected to initially target 7,000 households in the city, helping to reduce energy costs for the householders and improve their carbon footprint.

Councillor Marco Cereste, Leader of Peterborough City Council, commented:

This partnership with British Gas will benefit large segments of the city, particularly those who are on lower incomes. We are fully aware of the economic pressures faced by our citizens and this programme is a great result. Along with other council-run programmes such as Ready to Switch, we are doing everything we can to reduce energy prices for our residents and continue to improve our carbon footprint over the next few years

Green Deal, which launched in January, is the Government’s flagship environmental policy aiming to drive energy efficiency for families and businesses across the UK. Green Deal replaces legacy energy initiatives Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP).

Andrew Bacon, Regional Director, British Gas said:

At British Gas, we wanted to build a partnership with Peterborough Council as one of the leading organisations in local government in tackling the wide-range of challenges that local residents and businesses face. This partnership will bring real local economic benefits including new jobs and skills, but also will help to reduce fuel poverty and enable local communities take more control over their energy management and cost.  By bringing the scale and delivery capability that British Gas offers, along with Peterborough’s ambition and drive, we look forward to what we can achieve together

John Harrison, Executive Director of Strategic Resources for Peterborough City Council, also commented:

The council has a strong committment to energy efficiency projects that have genuine benefits for our citizens. This partnership with British Gas will improve the lives of many in our city, as well as help meet our carbon reduction objectives. This strategic partnership directly supports the work the council is doing to ensure that everybody in our city has a safe, warm and affordable home to live in, and that our communities are sustainable and vibrant places to live.  It builds on our work to eradicate fuel poverty and to tackle child and family poverty by introducing significant investment and expertise to work alongside officers and other partner organisations. This programme also supports the council’s response to the reform of the welfare benefits system which may initially place greater pressure on some household budgets

The announcement comes on the heels of other innovative energy projects launched by Peterborough City Council, working with Pinsent Masons, such as Ready to Switch, a collective energy switching scheme, which enables local residents to act as a collective negotiating cheaper energy costs from providers.

Peter Feehan, a Partner in the Commercial team at Pinsent Masons, says:

Local government has to balance spending cuts on one hand with increasing levels of fuel poverty in their constituencies on the other. This innovative use of the ECO is a way for Peterborough Council and British Gas to address those issues while also boosting the local economy, and it would not be surprising if other utilities and local government organisations chose to follow suit. Peterborough has consistently shown itself to be at the forefront of tackling energy issues and we are delighted to have helped broker this deal

Cabinet will meet on Monday 25 March at 10 am.

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