The Government is putting local action at the heart of efforts to keep energy bills down and homes warm, with an £40 million competition aimed at driving local initiatives to boost energy efficiency, reduce fuel poverty and encourage collective switching and purchasing.

Energy Secretary Edward Davey said:

“With prices rising and temperatures dropping, we want to make sure we are doing all we can to help vulnerable householders keep warm this winter.

“This funding will put local councils at the heart of action to get energy bills down, for instance helping low income householders upgrade old inefficient heating systems and insulate draughty homes.

“As well as helping even more councils showcase the benefits of energy efficiency, this funding will support the launch of initiatives to enable local residents to save money by clubbing together to get a better energy deal.”

The competition, run by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), has three strands, each with a separate pot of money up for grabs:

  • £25million to help householders keep warm this winter

Local councils in England are being invited to bid for up to £25 million to help improve the thermal efficiency of homes in their local area. This competition is aimed specifically at helping low income and vulnerable people keep warm this winter and aims to help cut heating costs by installing kit like efficient new and replacement boilers and loft and cavity wall insulation.

  • £10 million to kick start Green Deal projects

There is also £10 million available for Green Deal ‘pioneer’ projects for councils in England. This money can be used for a variety of schemes aimed at promoting the Green Deal, from whole house retrofits to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency to local residents, to community engagement events to raise awareness of what can be done. The Pioneer Places scheme builds on the investment already being channelled into seven Green Deal Low Carbon Cities, announced earlier this month, enabling more councils to benefit.

  • ‘Cheaper Energy Together’: £5 million to set up collective switching schemes

Money is also available for councils and third sector organisations in England, Scotland and Wales for the ‘Cheaper Energy Together’ scheme aimed at helping set up collective switching schemes in their local area. Collective purchasing and switching is an innovative way for consumers to group together (through a trusted third party) and use market power to negotiate lower energy bills.

Potential bidders can apply for money under all of the competitions using a single application form. Bids for each of the competitions will however be judged separately against a range of criteria including value for money, impact on fuel poverty, and potential to generate further investment.

The closing date for applications is 30 November 2012 and successful bidders will be announced shortly afterwards.