At SSE Airtricity our determination to act in a sustainable way is at the heart of our business strategy. For our company and our parent SSE plc, the UK and Ireland’s broadest-based energy utility, acting in a sustainable way is at the core of what we do daily. We work hard to meet the responsibilities we have to our customers, employees, communities and shareholders. For us it is simply about being responsible in all that we do.
We believes in making positive impacts in the communities in which we operates. As well as promoting green energy generation, we believe the communities that host our wind farms should experience the benefit of that wind farm in their locality. The SSE Airtricity Community Fund invests in locally-led projects in rural Ireland promoting energy efficiency and sustainability.
So far SSE Airtricity has invested over €3.5m from our wind farms into more than 1,500 projects across more than 300 rural communities. Projects supported range from energy efficient sports lighting for sports clubs to energy retrofits for schools, halls and community centres. Last year, the wind farm support was extended to fund free energy retrofits for local authority homes in Wexford and Limerick, resulting in significantly reduced energy bills for 200 families.
Launched in 2011, SSE Airtricity’s Community at Heart volunteering programme sees the company’s staff give helping hands to local groups and charities. Employees are able to use one working day a year to volunteer in their local communities to support a range of good causes and charitable efforts.
The employee-led programme – with an 80% staff participation rate – has supported over 50 charities, including Barnardos, Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice, the Irish Cancer Society, Barretstown, the Irish Heart Foundation, the ISPCA, and both Temple Street and Our Lady’s Crumlin children’s hospitals.
CREATING LOCAL EMPLOYMENT
Since 2008, SSE has invested over €2bn in delivering a greener energy infrastructure in Ireland. We are committed to supporting local jobs and enterprise by ensuring we maximize job opportunities and contract awards to local businesses during the development and construction of all of our energy projects.
At Great Island in Co Wexford, where SSE is constructing a new power station, over 80% of the 1,200-strong peak-time workforce is Irish and local to the South East. In Co Derry, £36m was spent directly by SSE with around 75 local supply chain businesses in the development of its Slieve Kirk Wind Park.
HELPING VULNERABLE CUSTOMERS
For SSE Airtricity, being responsible means doing more to provide essential services reliably and affordably, especially to our most-in-need customers. Ongoing efforts by SSE Airtricity to work with customers struggling with energy debt have resulted in a continued reduction in energy disconnections. We’ve installed more Pay-As-You-Go meters over the last two years than any other supplier, and we are the only utility to offer a discounted tariff to PAYG customers paying off their energy debt. We are also the first company in over 20 years to enter into the An Post Household Budget Scheme.
In June, SSE Airtricity joined with other energy suppliers to launch the Energy Engage Code, which sets out a programme of measures that suppliers will take to encourage customers in arrears to engage with them to ensure that they remain connected to their energy supply. In all these ways we believe we are leading the energy industry, and in doing so, we’re making a positive difference to people’s lives.