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OVO launches community energy efficiency scheme

Providing free radiator keys and advice to help community members save at least £155* on energy bills this winter.

With more cold snaps predicted this winter, OVO is today launching an energy efficiency pilot scheme designed to support local communities with energy efficiency advice and tools this winter.

Created in partnership with community business support charity Plunkett Foundation, the scheme arms 10 shopkeepers in stores from Kent to Cumbria with energy-saving knowledge from OVO’s Energy Experts and free radiator keys. Combined savings of implementing OVO’s tips could see over £155 knocked off annual energy bills.

The community scheme comes as OVO research shows three quarters (74%) said their cornershop is a pillar of the community and an important hub of information, and more than half (56%) said their local community would benefit from a scheme that provides energy efficiency advice and tools, such as radiator keys.

Including a radiator key-sharing initiative, the scheme provides community members with the knowledge and tools they need to cut costs and carbon this winter. Despite two-fifths (40%) of Brits saying they would like to bleed their radiators, one in five (19%) have no idea how to do it.

Community members simply need to ask participating shopkeepers to borrow a free radiator key. They will then be provided with guidance on energy efficiency measures including how to bleed radiators. Everyone will be encouraged to return the keys to stores once finished, so more community members can benefit from one of the cheapest and easiest ways to improve heating circulation in the home.

Anyone who isn’t in close proximity to a store can head to OVO’s social channels to sign up for a free radiator key and watch a helpful video on how to bleed radiators on OVO’s website.

Four energy efficiency measures recommended by OVO’s Energy Experts, include:

  1. Turn down your boiler flow temperature: Turning down the flow temperature on your combi-boiler to 60°C will make it more efficient. It can also save the average home around £60 a year, according to the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero’s It All Adds Up’ campaign.
  2. Turn down the radiators in rooms you use less: Turning down radiators in rooms you don’t use, can help to lower your bills, with the ‘DESNZ’ suggesting it can save up to £50 per home per year.
  3. If you can, draught-proof your windows and doors: Draught excluders and draught excluder tape stop heat from escaping by blocking gaps around doors and windows. It’s a low-cost way of keeping warm air in and cold air out, and the Energy Saving Trust says doing so could save you up to £45 on your bills.
  4. Bleeding radiators: OVO’s Energy Experts recommend doing so at least once a year to remove pockets of air that build up inside radiators. This allows warm water to flow through the whole radiator so it uses less energy to heat the room to the desired temperature.

OVO also recently launched its Customer Support Package, which will provide nearly £40m’s worth of financial support and free energy-saving products, including electric blankets and mattress toppers, for vulnerable customers this winter.

Gráinne Regan, Head of Heat at OVO, said “OVO’s team of Energy Experts visit thousands of households nationwide, bearing witness to the negative impact that the UK’s leaky housing stock is having on bills. Bleeding radiators and draught-proofing may seem like small acts, but simple changes like these can make a genuine difference to energy bills.

“With corner shops playing such an important role in communities, they are the ideal place for us to engage people in energy efficiency to help cut costs this winter.”

Claire Spendley, Community Business Manager at Plunkett Foundation added: “We’re so grateful that OVO has chosen to support the work we do with local community-owned shops. Many of our shops are located in rural areas that don’t always have easy access to the information or tools they need to improve energy efficiency. We hope to see many customers taking advantage of the scheme.”

Karen Roberts aged 53, manager of St Tudy Community Shop, Cornwall, one of the stores taking part in the energy efficiency scheme, said: Our shop is a vital resource for the people in our community. Customers rely on us for everything from daily essentials to information and access to vital services, so they can get the most out of their lives. But we can’t be experts in all areas. By working with OVO to share crucial knowledge on energy efficiency, we’ll help our customers to lower their energy bills. We help take care of the people we serve and I can’t think of a better way to support them this winter.”