How can we create a stronger Energy Bill?
2 years, 7 months ago #1
The Energy Bill is the Coalition Government's attempt to reduce fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency. This is a hugely important Bill for us in Stoke-on-Trent as rates of fuel poverty in the city are worryingly high. I have many concerns about the effectiveness of the Bill and I agree that it must be strengthened in a number of key areas.
The proposals in the Bill mean that for the first time since 1978 there will be no taxpayer funding for domestic energy improvements. Instead households will have to take out loans to fund improvements and then pay back the loan from the savings in their energy bills. I have concerns that people will be reluctant to take out loans and so vital work will not get done, particularly if the interest rate is high. The Government needs to provide greater clarity on this point.
Another key area is improving the energy efficiency of houses in the private rented sector as this is where rates of fuel poverty are particularly high. Concerted lobbying has now forced the Government to strengthen the Bill with the announcement that from 2018 landlords will not be able to let out properties with an F or G energy performance rating (the least energy efficient). This was a key concession although I do question why we must wait until 2018 for it to be introduced.
Re: How can we create a stronger Energy Bill?
2 years, 5 months ago #2
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has made significant progress in recent years in improving the energy efficiency of homes in the city as a key part of its strategy to tackle fuel poverty.
Providing a strategic framework for domestic energy efficiency investment and activity has helped improve the energy performance of homes from an average SAP of 51 in 2004 to SAP 59 in 2009.
Since 2004, gas and electricity prices have risen by 109% and 71% respectively . Rising energy prices is a key contributing factor to the rise in fuel poverty in Stoke-on-Trent.
Other contributing factors include stock condition and stock type. Nearly half (49.4%) of private sector homes in the city fail the decent homes standard.
For some households, price rises have been partially offset by rising incomes and improvements in the energy efficiency of their home, therefore reducing the impact of the price rises.
However, evidence suggests that the overall effect of price rises since 2004 has far outweighed the impact of increasing incomes and energy efficiency.
For example, the Private Sector Stock Condition Survey reports that fuel poverty has increased from 31% in 2004 to 46% in 2009.
Without the levels of investment and activity to improve the energy efficiency of the housing stock, the level of fuel poverty in the city would be much worse.
The following list contains examples of the initiatives and programmes underway or in development to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in the city (this is not an exhaustive list):
• The North Staffordshire Warm Zone is a multi million pound programme set up in 2007 to tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions by improving the energy efficiency of homes.
• Promoted the Warm Front Scheme to encourage the take up of heating improvements in the private sector.
• Working with two energy suppliers to fund and deliver two projects under the Community Energy Saving Programme.
• Replacing electric storage heating systems of 1000 council owned bungalows with energy efficient gas central heating to protect our more vulnerable residents from the effects of fuel poverty.
• Vibrant network of third sector organisations working in partnership providing energy advice services and referrals to agencies that can help prevent fuel poverty.
• Commissioned a programme of Solar PV installations onto 1000 council properties
• Monitoring developments in relation to Green Deal and deciding how the local authority can best respond to the policy to achieve a significant number of low carbon refurbishments
• Developing opportunities for decentralised energy/ community energy in Stoke-on-Trent
Looking forward, the Energy Bill contains a number of provisions to reduce fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency. To improve the energy efficiency of homes to help meet the carbon reduction targets set out in the Climate Change Act 2008 will require a transformation of the city’s housing stock, moving away from fossil fuel heating systems, to alternative forms of renewable and low carbon energy generation. For further information on any of the above schemes please contact the city’s Housing Enabling Team on 01782 235537.
Re: How can we create a stronger Energy Bill?
2 years, 2 months ago #3
Why do we have an energy pricing structure that halves the cost of energy as your useage increases? Surely to encourage energy efficiency we should have a structure which rewards those using less and penalises those who use more. This would have to be structured in such a way that funds from the wasteful could be directed into measures to reduce energy inefficiency, rather than having a surcharge that puts money (including some from those in fuel poverty) into the pockets of investors through the FIT. We operate our house on 30% of the average consumption, but pay 50% of the 'average' bill, as much of our useage at the higher tarrif! Where is the incentive in that?