Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Councils get a better energy deal for Londoners in fuel poverty



Vulnerable residents in up to 1.75million homes across London will be offered assistance by their local council to get a better energy deal and save money.  

The pioneering scheme involving 17 boroughs and London Councils, the organisation which represents the capital’s local authorities, was given £686,655 by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) from its Cheaper Energy Together fund.

The initiative will help the capital’s most vulnerable residents by getting them a cheaper tariff for their gas and electricity bills.

Each borough plan to use their equal share of the funding to work with residents who could benefit most from switching their energy tariff and advise them what their options are. It is estimated that 325,000 homes in the 17 boroughs are in fuel poverty which means more than 10 per cent of income is spent on electricity and gas.

The aim of the project is to sign up as many Londoners as possible, especially those who struggle the most to keep warm, and collectively negotiate a better deal with the gas and electricity companies on their behalf.

Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, Councillor Catherine West said: “People who most need to keep warm to stay healthy are the least likely to make sure they are on the best energy deal. Some of the most vulnerable Londoners will not turn the heating on because they do not want to risk running up a large bill.

“This cross borough scheme will make a real difference this winter by advising residents about their options and helping them to switch to cheaper gas and electricity tariffs or suppliers.”

Kingston Council is the lead borough for the scheme. Council leader, Councillor Derek Osbourne said: “With energy bills soaring, we must help Londoners get cheaper energy deals and improve their home energy efficiency. Councils across the capital will do all that they can to help people, particularly the vulnerable and those on low incomes, keep warm at home.

“Switching collectively to one domestic energy provider to get better energy deals can benefit us all as residents.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

The 17 boroughs involved in the scheme are Bexley, Brent, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Kingston, Lambeth, Merton, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton and Waltham Forest.

1.75million homes – source 2011 Census, Office for National Statistics
325,000 homes in fuel poverty – source London Assembly report In from the cold? Tackling fuel poverty in London http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Fuel%20poverty%20-%20Final%20report.pdf

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