Northern Powergrid’s Partnership Network

Northern Powergrid (NPg) works in collaboration with local partners who have strong community ties across its region so that the support it can provide is accessible to and meets the needs of those in vulnerable circumstances. Due to the cost-of-living crisis and the shift towards a decarbonised society, this collaboration is more important than ever, as the utilities landscape undergoes a significant transformation that will directly impact people’s everyday lives.

Programme objectives

With this in mind, NPg has commissioned Impact to support and manage a range of activities to strengthen the partnership network, specifically to:

  • Run a series of networking and best practice sharing events.
  • Deliver partner training on offering energy efficiency advice and decarbonising homes.
  • Develop an intelligence and insight service for partners which identifies, and shares support available in the North East including training, events, further funding etc.
  • Provide advice and resources for partners to share with their communities. Topics include debt advice, support for vulnerable customers in a power cut, winter readiness and home decarbonisation.
  • Share best practice and case studies with partners.
  • Increase accessibility of NPg’s social data to partners. The social data maps multiple vulnerability indicators, useful for targeting services, as well as supporting funding bids.

Gathering for a greener future. The Partnership Network event hosted by Impact

The latest networking and best practice sharing event took place in York on Thursday 19th October, attended by 44 people from across 40 organisations. Chris Ralph from Impact led the event, ably supported by a further seven Impact moderators to lead the keenly debated break-out sessions spread over eight tables.

Sharing insights and knowledge

The main goals of the event were to make sure everyone understood what decarbonisation means, to find ways to overcome the challenges customers face in reducing carbon emissions in the home, introduce a tool to identify vulnerable communities, brainstorm ideas for involving communities, and address concerns about making homes more eco-friendly. The discussions laid the foundation for collaborations and strategies to tackle carbon emissions.

From NPg, Ella Pinder (Vulnerability Policy Manager) talked about the challenges consumers face when it comes to energy, and Leah Larkin (Social Responsibility Advisor) discussed NPg’s services to help people make their homes eco-friendlier.

Ella Pinder and Fiona Pallister from Utilita explained the ECO Scheme & Great British Insulation Scheme (GBIS), highlighting how important it is for energy suppliers and distribution companies to communicate clearly. Dr. Dawn Hewitson from the East Lancashire Visual Impairment Movement talked about the difficulties visually impaired people face when trying to reduce carbon emissions, and James Perry (Egnida) introduced a tool to identify and support vulnerable populations.

The main takeaways were that consumers are confused and don’t trust the process, especially vulnerable groups. However, there’s hope in emphasizing the immediate benefits like saving money, improving comfort, and health.

A resounding success

The event was a big success, with positive feedback from attendees who left better prepared to help their communities. The Partnership Network programme will continue through 2024 with a further four events planned.

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