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TOPIC: Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year?

Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year? 2 months ago #1

24,000 deaths were linked to cold weather last winter.
According to the Office for National Statistics almost 20,000 were over the age of 75.
But energy prices are going up above the rate of inflation and will surely fuel more deaths in your area. So as the temperature is now due to drop to danger point surely the time to debate has passed. So please share urgently what you are you actioning or others are in your neighbourhood to protect the most vulnerable.

Please share ideas and experience quickly and save lives.
Last Edit: 2 months ago by Kauser Aslam.

Re: Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #2

Community leaders and industry need to collaborate, share the problems, then together, find the solution.
We have been working with clinicians within the NHS to develop a high performance and cost effective warming blanket that will help to alleviate the onset of hypothermia in an acute/emergency situation.
We believe that products like this can be used in the wider community/ home to help protect the most vulnerable.

Re: Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #3

We need to deliver action on fuel poverty this Parliament

On 11 July the Government recognised that it is unable to deliver an end to fuel poverty in England by 2016. The Government is now seeking new duties from Parliament to set out a framework for action on fuel poverty into the future. There is therefore a need to help examine the challenges and short comings with the current approach to tackling fuel poverty, identifying the opportunities presented by enhanced action in this area and exploring what form of assistance can be made accessible to all fuel poor households this Parliament to protect them from rising energy costs.

Earlier this summer, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change acknowledged the UK is facing a critical challenge. In the report Fuel Poverty: a Framework for Future Action, he wrote: ‘Fuel poverty is a real and serious problem faced by millions of households in the UK today. It is a problem that leaves many facing difficult choices about where to spend their limited income. It leaves many fearing for their health or the health of their children as they live in a home seemingly impossible to heat. This Government is determined to act’. Energy affordability was also the main political topic at this year’s political party conferences. Whilst some proposals may have created debate and controversy, the three main parties all recognised that much more needs to be done to address this huge challenge.

On the 29th July, the Energy and Climate Change Committee published its cross party report into Energy Prices, Profits and Poverty. The report rightfully notes some of the key risks with existing or planned energy policy. The Government responded to the Committee report on 10 October but the Government’s response leaves many key issues unaddressed.
Current fuel poverty policies

The Government has a set of existing schemes in place provide help with high energy costs.

 The Winter Fuel Payment. This is an automatic payment of between £100 and £300 to those in receipt of the state pension. It is not means-tested and is funded through the Exchequer and administered by DWP.

 The Cold Weather Payment, administered by DWP. This is payable when local temperature is either recorded as, or forecast to be, an average of zero degrees Celsius or below over 7 consecutive days. Low-income pensioners and other vulnerable consumers receive a payment of £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather. It is tax-funded.

 The levy-funded Warm Home Discount offers a mandatory reduction of £130 on electricity bills for low-income older households and, on a discretionary basis, for other financially disadvantaged vulnerable households.

 The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) was introduced in January 2013 to reduce the UK's energy consumption and support people living in fuel poverty. It does this by funding energy efficiency improvements worth around £1.3 billion every year. It is a continuation of previous obligations on energy companies to deliver energy efficiency measures across the housing stock, but with a much stronger emphasis on higher cost insulation measures in largely affluent homes. It will run until March 2015. There are three obligations under the ECO:

 Carbon Saving Obligation (CSO) - this covers the installation of measures like solid wall and hard-to-treat cavity wall insulation, which are ordinarily too expensive to be financed solely through the Green Deal. This aspect is worth around £760m per year, however, the fuel poor are not likely to be beneficiaries of this, the largest, element of the scheme this is not regarded as .

 Carbon Saving Community Obligation (CSCO) - this provides insulation measures to households in specified areas of low income. It also makes sure that 15% of each supplier's obligation is used to upgrade more hard-to-reach low-income households in rural areas.

 Affordable Warmth Obligation - this provides heating and insulation measures to consumers living in private tenure properties that receive particular means-tested benefits. This obligation supports low-income consumers that are vulnerable to the impact of living in cold homes, including the elderly, disabled and families. This combined with the CSCO will provide around £540m of support per year to low-income households.

However, despite these programmes:

 NEA notes the observation in the Independent Review of Fuel Poverty in England that ‘even if, at a conservative estimate, only a tenth of 'excess winter deaths' are due to fuel poverty, that means 2,700 people are dying each year in England and Wales, more than die on the roads. Beyond this are many other health problems and costs to the NHS from living in cold homes.

 The UK Government has failed to achieve its interim target, adopted in the UK Fuel Poverty Strategy 2001, to eradicate fuel poverty for all vulnerable households in England by 2010 and recently recognised that it is unable to deliver an end to fuel poverty by 2016 with the current level of resources and policies.

 Expenditure on Winter Fuel Payments last year reduced from around £2.7 billion to £2.1 billion and £1.72 billion in 2013. Even still, expenditure on the Winter Fuel Payment exceeds spend on any other fuel poverty policy despite not benefiting many of the most effected households.

 The Warm Home Discount which will offer mandatory rebates to low-income pensioner households of £135 on electricity bills. However, this policy (like the ECO) is paid for by all energy consumers including low-income households who cannot benefit from the scheme.

the most critical area that NEA believes needs to urgently be addressed, is that public funding for heating and insulation measures for low-income and vulnerable households in England (the Warm Front programme) were terminated at the end of March 2013. England is now the only UK nation providing no direct financial support to enable vulnerable and financially disadvantaged households to improve heating and insulation standards in their homes. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all continued to maintain or even expand their tax-funded energy efficiency programmes. In addition, despite recognition that levels of funding under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) would need to be increased from original levels, expenditure on heating and insulation programmes for low income and vulnerable households is now approximately half of the level in 2010-2011. As a result, the UK has and will continue to have some of the most energy inefficient housing stock in Europe. To seriously address the problem of fuel poverty we need the Government to commit to a comprehensive strategy which is adequately resourced and funded by Treasury who benefit considerable sums from the subsequent increase in VAT revenues every time energy bills rise, as well as from existing carbon and environmental taxes.

So....next year there will be a precious opportunity to address these issues within a new and ambitious fuel poverty strategy for England, millions hold their breath.
Last Edit: 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Kauser Aslam.

Re: Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #4

Move away from the Big Six (BS) altogether! The government suggestion 'to change to another company' (meaning one of the BS) is empty words (of course) but...... my energy supplier is Good Energy - their fuel is cheaper (I think) - when I investigated the situation - I live in a three bedroomed flat (ground floor so no heat rising from the flat downstairs) I worked it out that my bills for a year (gas and electric added together) are £600. As I say, that is for a whole year and it works out at less than £12 a week. About ten years ago, one of my daughters was living in a one bedroomed flat and we reckoned that she needed £10 a week for her fuel bills so - my present day bills are quite good, aren't they!

Re: Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #5

There are three major programmes going on at the moment :

• Warm Homes (maidstone.gov.uk/warmhomes) – free loft/cavity/solid wall insulation for qualifying households
• Collective switching – residents can sign up to a scheme & our partner will look for a better energy deal – all those who sign up will be told if they’d save on the new scheme (& how much they’d save), and would be supported in switching if they wished to do so (there’s no obligation or pressure to switch)
• Promotion of oil clubs for those areas still using oil for heating – oil clubs allow people to bulk buy oil, getting better prices.

There’s info on help available via central government here: www.maidstone.gov.uk/residents/housing2/help-during-the-winter
Last Edit: 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Kauser Aslam.

Re: Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #6

Control your usage - not with a timer but manually - if the heating comes on automatically at the same time every day, it is a potential waste and basically pretty silly - you feel different every day - the weather conditions certainly change every day. so if you operate the heating manually, you use less! Also, use a timer - I only have the heating on for a certain amount of time - I usually leave it for 45 minutes (maybe an hour when it's really cold) and then turn it off again. I have to add though - I have a lovely toasty blanket and as soon as it gets cold, I wrap myself in it - I only have a state pension and I don't want to owe anybody anything so - I adapt!

Re: Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #7

However, there are two important points. 1. Why should I keep warm with a blanket while big companies and councils all waste so much? computers are left on when offices are empty, lights are on in shops and offices everywhere - we ALL need to make an effort to stop wasting so much.
2. It's absolutely wrong that profits are handed out and shared when people are not able to keep warm. PEOPLE BEFORE PROFITS PLEASE!!!

Re: Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #8

I would agree that there is much wastage in public and private sector. The potential for savings from UK public and private sector is of the order of 70TWh per year. Equivalent to the total consumption of Portugal or Greece.
This must be addressed and I for one am doing all I can to tackle this - although admittedly I could do more. However, like energy genetration, there is no one single answer to fuel poverty. Offerings such as those from Orvec may be the difference between life and death to any number of these 24,000.

Re: Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #9

I notice that the largest age group who die from cold are those over the age of 75. I would imagine this group are not the easiest to reach with ideas and advice and probably sadly never even complain ....any examples out there of success or work in progress with these valuable members of our society who have given so much in their lifetime and are now apparently most at risk.

Re: Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year? 1 month, 2 weeks ago #10

Hi,

I'm part of the (technical) solution thanks. I work for an LA with 6200 dwellings, more than a thousand of which have solid walls, by feeding relevant property data to energy companies and intermediaries as well as explaining the benefits to the Council we have secured funding and internal match funding that is enabling about 800 of them to have External Wall Insulation installed over the next two years. EWI is simple and has both immediate and long term effect in terms of improving the environment in a home and reducing the need to buy energy for heating. We have also encouraged the companies to offer their wares to adjacent owners of former council homes with some success although many struggle with the Green Deal concept even though the grant to them is usually substantial. 22% of the Councils tenants are are over 75.

Re: Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year? 1 month ago #11

In 2011 Marmot stated that there is a clear social gradient in fuel poverty: the lower your income the more likely you are to be at risk of fuel poverty. We know that fuel poverty is avoidable and it contributes to social and health inequalities. The current Government are set to adopt a change to the Fuel Poverty definition from having to spend 10% or more of a household’s net income to heat their home to an adequate standard of warmth to “High Cost Low Income” definition. This new definition surely will NOT give a clear picture to the true number of families in Fuel Poverty????

Re: Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year? 1 month ago #12

In reply to Vanessa Powell-Hoyland.................
As seems to be the constant case with this particular government, changes are being made that blur the edges and therefore easily hide the fact that the gap between the rich and the poor - Marmot's inequality gap - is growing daily. They are following a path that involves less consideration to 'ordinary people'. While the planet is in a state of emergency, the 'powers that be' - this same government for example - are wasting an opportunity to make positive changes as they are obviously personally perfectly happy in their safe, non fuel-poverty castles. Or maybe they genuinely haven't got a clue (or any other positive ideas) and are therefore just pretending to make a difference. It is up to us, the people to demand urgent change. Maybe it would be an idea for all shareholders to unite and offer their share of the profits (the profits that are being made from higher fuel charges) in order to partially ease the fuel poverty gap.

Re: Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year? 3 weeks, 4 days ago #13

I am a member of the Lambeth sustainability forum and very concerned about retro fitting of homes in our area to reduce heating costs and tackle fuel poverty. I am also a member of Brixton Green a community led project to build c. 250 new homes for rent that will be as near as possible zero carbon rated.

Re: Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year? 3 weeks, 4 days ago #14

Fuel poverty is likely to increase as a result of recent above-average price rises from the energy suppliers; it is reported that prices will continue to rise above inflation for the foreseeable future.

Heating is the major cost associated with domestic properties. Whilst we cannot control the rate at which we are charged for our energy to heat our homes, we can help to minimise the amount wasted. As a result we will keep the cost of heating our properties to a minimum where possible.

The initial step is to ensure that the properties are insulated to the latest standards: Solid wall properties are part of an on-going programme to apply external wall thermal insulation, cavity wall properties are thermally filled and all accessible roof spaces are upgraded to a minimum of 250mm of thermal insulation. The latest double glazing and associated draft proofing has been installed in all properties where the Major Improvements Programme has been applied. These measures together will ensure that heat generated is retained as much as possible within the capabilities of the building fabric.

Once the property is suitable thermally insulated further measures can be applied.

Re: Fuel poverty =24,000 deaths last year. Are you an observer or part of the solution this year? 3 weeks, 4 days ago #15

A major factor associated with keeping heating costs down lies with control. It is important to ensure that the heat is only applied where it is required and when. Heating systems using conventional radiators have Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRV,s) which allow the comfort level in each room to be set as required, thermostats are suitably placed to provide an overall temperature setting together with programmers, bringing time control to suit life style patterns for both space and domestic hot water heating.

The method of heat generation plays a large part in heating cost control. Where properties are on the gas grid, high efficiency gas boilers are installed. In off grid and rural locations, where possible, oil fired systems are phased out by Air Source Heat Pumps, a form of renewable heating generally delivering three kilo Watts of thermal energy for each kilo Watt of electrical energy used.

There are properties where electrical storage heaters are the most suitable system. We are actively looking at the latest storage products for a possible phased replacement. The new systems will bring improved efficiency, performance and control at the same time capitalising on low cost off peak energy.

The above measures together with on going tenant education and advice will allow us to influence and control where possible the effects of fuel poverty.
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