Data initiative helps people in need cut their energy bills

The Energy Saving Trust’s data matching service for the Affordable Warmth arm of the ECO scheme has just processed its 100,000th record since launching in June last year and helped a very large number of people in need reduce their energy consumption and bills.

It’s a service tailored to simply check people’s eligibility for the ECO Affordable Warmth scheme with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on behalf of energy suppliers, installers and others involved with the national scheme.

This quickly shows whether customers qualify for the scheme – and with a large number of partners involved in delivering ECO, such a process is vital to help get energy company-subsidised heating systems and insulation to those that need them most.

To target the right people with energy efficiency home improvements in a cost-effective way, sometimes broader data about people’s lives will be required than how much power their washing machine is consuming, or whether the lights have been left on. This will have to be handled both simply and securely, and shared selectively.

Susan Jones, Head of Energy Saving Advice, explained: “It’s a very small part of the chain, but saves energy suppliers from having to visit houses where people may not be eligible, get hard copies of benefits documentation, and handle sensitive information. It also reduces the risk that further down the line it may not be possible to check that work meets the scheme criteria and potentially being rejected by Ofgem.

“It takes the hassle away for the supply chain, the DWP, and householders, who won’t have to be digging around for documentation, and may worry about the security of their information.”

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