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Social performance

Our Power as a social enterprise operating in the power supply market has a number of positive social impacts including tackling fuel poverty, providing employment opportunities in an area of high unemployement and supporting the social housing sector.

Key Social Performance Indicators (KSPIs)

KSPIs are a measure of how the business is performing on delivering its main social or environmental purpose. Read more

KSPI 1 - Tackling fuel poverty

It is estimated that in total there are around 3.5m households living in fuel poverty in England, Scotland and Wales. This breaks down into 11% of English households, 23% of Welsh households and 30.7% of Scottish households. In Scotland it has long been recognised that fuel poverty in remote and rural areas is much higher than in urban areas, for example in the Western Isles 71% of households live in fuel poverty an area with not only the highest incidence rate of fuel poverty in the UK but the worst in Western Europe.

The impact on households living in fuel poverty goes beyond not being able to afford to heat their homes but also has an impact on their health outcomes. It is estimated that over 9,600 frail and vulnerable people across the UK are at risk of dying throughout the coming winter months due to cold homes; 80 people per day. Cold homes impact on other avenues of life necessary for good health, for example paying for energy might mean a household spends less on food running the risk of reduced calorific intake, malnutrition and limited weight gains in infants.

Our Power addresses the price of energy for low income households. The business does not discriminate between its customers based on their payment method and each tariff developed will be the same cost for both prepayment and credit customers within the regulatory framework.

Our Power can demonstrate that over the last 12 months it has saved customers an average of £75 compared to a standard variable tariff from the Big 6 suppliers, based on the Ofgem average consumption level. In some instances this corresponds to 2% of the household income and an average of 8% saving on their fuel bills. The £75 saved equates to a customer being able to heat their home for 65 more days using gas and 100 more days if using electricity during the peak winter months from November to February.

North Scotland is an area with particularly high levels of fuel poverty and higher tariffs than other parts of Great Britain as a result of higher transmission and distribution costs for power. With a large percentage of the population being off gas grid and therefore dependent on electric power as their source of heat, this proves detrimental and increases the risk of fuel poverty. Our Power aims to reduce the gap in the tariff in North Scotland by taking lower margins from these tariffs.

Working closely with its social housing members, and in particular their fuel poverty advisors, Our Power actively engages in fuel poverty interventions across member communities.

KSPI 2 - Providing employment opportunities

Our Power’s operating base is in the community of Craigmiller in Edinburgh. This is a regeneration area with some of the highest levels of unemployment and poverty in the City. As the enterprise scales and grow it will deliver its customer-facing operations from hubs based in its members’ communities, where jobs can make a real difference.

Our Power is a Living Wage Employer and expects to create over 200 new jobs by 2021 in areas of high unemployment.

KSPI 3 - Supporting social housing

The performance of existing energy suppliers creates inefficiency for the social housing sector. Our Power’s business model improves members’ business efficiency through improved and integrated working practices and collaboration.

Through working with Our Power, members are provided with an efficient void utility service which aims to optimise the letting times of void properties, thus maximising rental income. The average rental income in Scotland across the social housing sector is £73 per week, and for every week a property is empty the rental income is lost to the landlord.

Social landlords invest their profits back into their communities either in the form of social regeneration, capital improvements or new build properties, consequently, increasing profits means increasing investment in communities.

Common environmental performance indicators (CEPIs)

CEPIs are environmental performance indicators that are common to all businesses, no matter what their main business activity is. Read more

Carbon emissions

Our Power does not currently monitor all carbon emissions but is in the process of developing an environmental policy which will include carbon emission monitoring.

Staff travel to work

The environmental policy, when adopted will seek to encourage staff to use sustainable transport in order to travel to work. Already the company has a high number of staff traveling to work by public transport, cycle, or on foot.

Waste and recycling

Our Power recycles its waste and monitors this. In the year to September 2017 over 430kgs of carbon were avoided from entering the atmosphere as a result of Our Power's recycling.

Common Social Performance Indicators (CSPIs)

CSPIs are social performance indicators that are common to all businesses, no matter what their main business activity is. Read more

Community involvement

As a Community Benefit Society, Our Power's members are social housing providers across Scotland.  Working closely with members, and in particular their fuel poverty advisors, Our Power actively engages in fuel poverty interventions across member communities including to promoting direct switching as well as offering this across the wider community.

Our Power members are also training their technical staff to install smart meters with 15 engineers having been trained to date. This is being rolled out across the membership and this gives Our Power a supply of engineers to meet the growing number of smart meter installations.

Ethical procurement

Our Power are in the process of developing a procurement policy which covers buying locally and using social enterprises where ever possible.

Local employment

Our Power does not have a formal local employmemt policy but it does have a commitment to set up in areas of high unemployment and employ locally.

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