Government 'Energy Advice Demonstrator funding competition' - a short briefing


This is a brief summary of information found on the Greater South East Net Zero Hub’s webpage and discussed at a recent webinar hosted by the Hub. Please read the guidance and resources on your Net Zero Hub’s website in full for more detail.

An England-wide competition has been launched by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and the Net Zero Hubs to provide local, innovative, in-person energy advice services to consumers.  This is expected to offer insights that could be replicated nationally. Projects put forward for the competition must, as a minimum, provide support either for hard-to-treat properties or for hard-to-reach consumers. Providers can make a maximum request of £2 million investment over financial years 2023-24 and 2024-25.

The competition has now launched, with an application window of 5 weeks. To be considered, your application to the competition must be submitted on the application form provided (download it here) and sent to by 21st April 2023.

The competition is being organised regionally via the Net Zero Hubs. Please visit your local hub via the links at the bottom of this briefing.

We are advised that partnerships are encouraged and that many Combined/Local Authorities will be applying so worth talking to your Local Authority about being part of the bid. Also partnerships with other community energy organisations may be productive, ideally within your NZ Hub area.

Strategic themes

Projects must deliver at least one of first two themes below, or both:

Support for hard-to-reach consumers (rural/urban) 

  • E.g. less internet-literate, elderly, fuel poor, off gas grid, minority ethnic groups, non-native English speakers, those with disabilities, those sensitive to internal disruption in homes, etc. 

Support for hard-to-treat properties 

  • E.g. listed buildings/conservation areas, planning restrictions, non-standard construction, terraced homes, flats, off-gas-grid homes, poorly-performing homes, etc.

Optional aims may include:

  • Support for consumers pursuing retrofit as part of broader home renovation
  • Support for consumers pursuing a whole house retrofit
  • Signposting and brokerage support to enable consumers to access accredited/robust home energy advice visits and audits

Successful projects should:

  • Provide an advice service for consumers for each stage of their retrofit journey, from an initial enquiry about how to improve the energy efficiency of their homes through to the point where installation of retrofit measures takes place.
  • Refer consumers to sources of grant funding and subsidies where available, eligible, and appropriate. These may include the “Help to Heat” group of government schemes, such as the Home Upgrade Grant, the Energy Company Obligation Scheme, and the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.
  • Deliver physical and financial measures specifically focused on energy efficiency or clean heating measures - general energy advice is out of scope, including help with bills, debt redress, switching providers, generic sources of finance etc.
  • Offer 1:1 in-person advice, cafes, workshops that would lead to retrofit - this is key to supplement the new web services and upcoming phone line. 
  • Be new and innovative - this could include expanding existing services into a new geographical and/or methodological context.
  • Align with the digital service advice available on and the upcoming phone line. This includes being able to prioritise customers for whom adequate support cannot be delivered through the website or phone line. 

They are specifically looking to:

  • Achieve a community approach
  • Test new approaches 
  • Gain Insights on:
    • evidence based/evaluation to inform future schemes 
    • identify the type of advice required for different consumer groups
    • replicable projects


  • Must provide a clear definition of the geographical area targeted by the project. A range of sizes of geographical areas is permitted, from the hyper-local (village/parish) to the regional (e.g., county-wide). 
  • Be able to mobilise from 5 June 2023 and complete by 31 March 2025.  
  • Must request no more than £2 million of investment over the project period
  • Explore options for the project to become self-funding by the end of the grant funded period (31/03/2025).  
  • Explore match funding options for the lifecycle of the project to increase the scale of the project and/or reduce funding requirements from Government.
  • Submit and deliver the project by an appropriate legal entity - Registered Charity, CICs, Co-ops, BenComms, CIOs, Development Trust, Registered society (pre 2014 IPS), Faith Group, Local Community Groups in partnership with a Local Authority, Local Authorities, Parish Councils. 

Links and Resources: