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Cold Homes Week – Addressing the Issue of Fuel Poverty

Posted on 3 February 2014

CHW_homepage_banner_v1               Cold Homes Week starts this week and climaxes on Friday.  The campaign has been created by The Energy Bill Revolution, an alliance of charities, environmental groups, consumer groups, trade unions, businesses, politicians and public figures. Co-operative Energy is a supporter of the alliance and has been challenging the practices of the ‘Big Six’ and championing the rights of the consumer since it launched in 2011. Co-operative Energy, which joined the Energy Bill Revolution in April 2013, was the first energy supplier to actually introduce a price cut in its energy prices for two successive years and most recently rolled back its planned price increase to 2.5 per cent. After the Government announced its intention to removed social obligations on bills, Co-operative Energy had already removed ECO costs last November. Co-operative Energy then challenged all other suppliers to follow its lead and pass on the saving and where they’ve implemented price rises, provide customers with a rebate. Co-operative Energy was also the first energy provider to offer customers tailored payment arrangements, helping pensioners and the 3.5 million British workers who receive their income on a fortnightly or four weekly basis. This allows customers to choose to pay their bills either every four weeks, making 13 monthly payments across the year, or fortnightly, making 26 payments across the year, as opposed to the standard 12 monthly payments offered by other energy companies. Last year three fixed tariffs were also introduced to help customers looking to bring down their energy bills safeguard their expenditure in some cases for the next four winters if they so wish. All the supporters of The Energy Bill Revolution have teamed up this year to help raise awareness of the issues surrounding fuel poverty, and to gain the support of politicians to help make UK homes more energy efficient. The campaign’s key elements are a big tweet and e-alert on Monday 3 Feb, calling for petition signatories. The campaign twitter hashtag to follow all developments is #coldhomesweek. Key members will also join a debate in parliament, host public meetings and call on the nation to get knitting scarves. The scarves will be presented in a parliamentary reception, along with pictures of the public wearing scarves and images of   scarf adorned statues. A symbolic art installation is also planned for Westminster, and an online ‘counting the cost’ calculator has been developed. This calculator allows users to type in their postcode to find out if their local MP is supporting the campaign and find out how many inefficient homes there are in their area. With the counting the cost element in mind we have compiled a list of simple but helpful tips to help make your home more efficient:

  • Draught proofing – undoubtedly one of the easiest and most affordable DIY jobs to save money in your home. Head to your nearest retailer for the best solutions.
  •  Insulate – Insulation will keep your home warmer for longer. Loft insulation is a quick fix that will not only take under a day to complete, but it can save you up to £180 per year on your home heating bills.
  • Double glazing – upgrading your windows can dramatically cut your heat loss and could save you around £170 a year on heating bills. To get a better idea of how much you could save by replacing your windows, use this Energy Saving Calculator.
  • Upgrade your boiler – boilers account for 55% of your energy bills, so it’s important you have an efficient one. Upgrading to an A-rated high-efficiency condensing boiler could save you £310 a year.
  • Bleed your radiators – if your radiator feels cold at the top and warm at the bottom it is likely it has trapped air in it that needs releasing.  Bleeding your radiator is very easy, simply open the small valve on your radiator and allow the excess air to escape. Make sure your heating is off, you have a towel at the ready for any leakages and you wear protective gloves.
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