The Energy Saving Trust (EST) is to continue delivering its free energy saving advice service to consumers and businesses after being awarded a new £13 million Government contract.
The contract, which will start from this April, will see the EST
run a centralised telephone advice line, providing free and impartial advice to consumers on energy saving
programmes, including the Green Deal
, over the next three years. The EST announced today it had been awarded the contract by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) following a competitive tender.
An EST spokesperson said the contract would enable the social enterprise to "continue to provide" the free energy saving advice services it is known for, but pointed out that the value of the contract was "quite small" in comparison to the grant it has received from Government in previous years. DECC announced in May last year that it would be ending core funding for the EST from April 2012 following cuts in public spending.
The new advisory service, which will cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland, will support existing schemes such as the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and Warm Front, as well as upcoming programmes the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), the EST said.
"This is a great opportunity to redefine energy saving advice services that are fit for current times while continuing to provide free and impartial advice to UK householders," Ted Brown, new chair of the EST said. "We’ve beaten very stiff competition to secure this vital service which is a testament to our years of experience in this area and our ability to compete in these very tough market conditions."Green Deal advice
A key new part of the service will be offering advice to consumers on the Government’s Green Deal, a national energy efficiency
programme launching in October that will enable households and businesses to make their properties more energy efficient at no upfront cost. The ambitious programme aims to insulate 14 million homes by 2020.
"Having a central and trusted advice line will be crucial to ensuring people have all the right information about how they can save energy and money," commented Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker. "It will also be an important source of information for us on what consumers and businesses are saying as we move to launch of the Green Deal later this year.
"The commencement of the new service in April will be an important step and I expect it to grow quickly over the next six months to become an essential part of Government’s delivery of its energy saving policies."
The EST is teaming up with Careline Services, a contact centre outsourcing business, to deliver the new energy saving service. Careline Careline will be responsible for delivering the service from its contact centre in Chiswick.
To make up for the public spending shortfall, EST has over the past year been working on securing a number of commercial contracts, including a five-year £110 million fuel poverty contract in conjunction with British Gas. And in November last year, the Energy Saving Trust announced it had become a social enterprise with charitable status.
The Energy Saving Trust was formed in 1992 and was previously a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.
The EST will continue to run its existing energy saving advice service in Scotland.
Correction: The value of the EST contract was previously incorrectly reported to be £30 million. It is in fact £13 million over three years.
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