DECC funding to boost local energy schemes It has recently been announced that 132 projects in the UK are to receive a share of a £46 million Government fund in a bid to reduce fuel poverty and boost energy efficiency. It is hoped the fund will promote collective switching and purchasing. The fund will be available to Local Authorities and related organisations to assist in keeping energy bills in their region down.The Department for Energy and Climate Change welcomed bids from organisations for an award under the fund through three competitions.The fund will be allocated into the following three areas:1. £10 million to assist with the roll out of the Green Deal with “Pioneer Places” projects. This is targeted across homes in each Local Authority area and is not aimed specifically for the vulnerable. It aims to kick start energy efficiency projects which are complementary to the Green Deal.2. £31 million to assist vulnerable homes to keep their homes warm during the winter months. This will allow Local Authorities to install efficiency central heating systems and installation in the homes of vulnerable residents.3. £5 million to introduce collective switching schemes under “Cheaper Energy Together” so that residents of Local Authority areas can seek cheaper energy tariffs together.Edward Davey, Energy Secretary announced:“We need to find new ways to help people with their energy bills, working with communities and councils across the country. The projects we are funding will help people save energy and save money: helping the most vulnerable to heat their homes, getting the Green Deal market up and running and encouraging people to switch energy suppliers to get their bills down.” “This £46million will help local councils across England upgrade inefficient heating kit as well as creating demand for and installing insulation under the Green Deal in homes across their local areas. Funding will also be used to drive forward collective purchasing and switching initiatives at a local level, helping consumers get a better deal on their energy bills. I am delighted so many organisations want to run new co-operative schemes to help people, especially the fuel poor, to get the best deals in the market."