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Portsmouth City Council's in-house Energy Services team has won the coveted 'Council of the Year Award' at the 2019 South East Energy Efficiency Awards. The team was also commended in a second category for their work around mitigating fuel poverty and the provision of affordable energy for vulnerable residents.

The award is presented to one council or local authority that has shown commitment to promoting energy efficiency within their region whilst thanking them for their efforts.

In recent years, the authority has invested heavily in energy services, specifically looking at renewable generation and energy efficiency for homes and local organisations. Projects include low energy lighting, fuel poverty mitigation, solar panel installations, utility bill validation and energy certification among other services.

Portsmouth City Council boasts one of the largest local authority energy teams in the UK. Over recent years the team has installed almost 400 solar systems across Portsmouth; totalling over 20,000 solar panels and producing enough electricity to run 635,000 homes for a day. This solar power makes a significant saving to the city's carbon emissions, with 1,600 tonnes a year of carbon saved by using this clean power.

Vulnerable residents benefit from the award-winning initiatives run by the council's Energy Services Team. Three schemes that are currently offered include Local Energy Advice Partnership (LEAP), Warmer Homes and the Emergency Boiler Replacement Scheme. LEAP offers home energy advice to residents, whilst providing the most vulnerable with free energy efficiency measures such as LED light bulbs and TV standby plugs.

The Warmer Homes scheme offers eligible households a fully funded gas central heating system, and gas connection if required. The total value of the gas connection and the central heating system typically equates to £6,000.

These initiatives have resulted in £937,373 worth of savings to date for vulnerable residents, the provision of expert energy efficiency advice for 1,000 homes and 1,500 fully-funded central heating systems being made available for residents the Portsmouth area.

The council aims to continue to reduce the rate of fuel poverty in the city by providing key initiatives to Portsmouth residents.

Councillor Darren Sanders from Portsmouth City Council said:

"As a city, Portsmouth must do all it can to tackle that climate emergency and air pollution crisis we face. The Council is uniquely placed at the forefront of clean energy in the South of England and I am delighted that it is getting recognition for the work it is doing to make that happen.

"This is not the end, though. We must and we will continue to plan and carry out pioneering initiatives to help mitigate fuel poverty, reduce carbon emissions and improve both air quality and energy efficiency in our city"

Portsmouth City Council fought off tough competition from Sevenoaks Council, Mid Sussex Council and Bracknell Forest Council for the crown of 'Regional Council of the Year Award'.