Norweb close to meeting domestic electricity reduction target

Norweb has met 80% of its domestic energy-saving target, set by The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets. All 14 UK electricity companies are required to meet reduction targets for domestic energy consumption. Norweb is ahead of schedule with 80% of its 179 million units of saving achieved in just over a year.

“Having gained experience from the first project that ran from 1994 to 1998, we were in a good position to hit the ground running,” Glyn Trumper, Norweb’s Energy Efficiency manager, told edie. “It’s not competitive between the electricity companies, but I am proud that we’re leading the pack.”

Norweb’s schemes to reduce domestic electricity consumption fall into three categories:

  • lighting
  • insulation of electrically-heated homes
  • energy-efficient appliances.

“The cheapest schemes to run are the lighting schemes,” says Trumper. “Then, the insulation measures, and the appliances are the most expensive.”

In terms of lighting, Norweb promotes more efficient bulbs. “We encourage domestic customers to use compact fluorescent lamps – they’re more expensive, but they last a lot longer,” says Trumper. Norweb provides CFLs free to economically-disadvantaged customers and uses leaflets in customer bills to sell them at reduced prices to the rest of its customers.

Trumper admits that promoting energy efficiency to domestic customers is difficult, “but customers are becoming more aware of the benefits of low-cost lighting. On the insulation side, it’s very hard work. There’s still a lot of apathy about insulation.”

Norweb organises joint fund schemes with local authorities and housing associations to fund insulation, generally subsidising the cost to 50%. With private landlords, Norweb has found that 100% subsidy is usually required.

A scheme, called Homes 2000, to insulate the homes of people over 60 years old and people on benefit is also in operation.

Between 1994 and 1998, Norweb insulated 16,000 properties of the 6-7% of its customers’ homes that are heated by electricity. Since 1998, the company has continued to insulate approximately 4,000 homes a year.

Interestingly, customer uptake on insulation doubled after the sales and marketing of the insulation schemes were brought inhouse. Trumper believes that customers are more comfortable dealing with Norweb staff, “and doing it for ourselves, we have no excuses”.

Norweb’s area of activity runs from the Scottish Borders to south of Manchester and west of the Pennines.

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