Energy efficiency can also keep winter cold at bay
THE fall in the global price of oil has been obvious in the prices displayed on garage forecourts of late. Although the cost of the fuel to heat our homes may not be on signboards in our high streets, energy bills are affected by the same global prices. The major suppliers are now passing on the savings from the lower wholesale prices to their customers.
Nobody should have to suffer in cold homes. Cold weather payments have been increased to £25 to help vulnerable people in periods of severe weather. The winter fuel payments support about 12 million older people in the UK, as a whole. Further, about two million households where people are on low incomes, or are vulnerable, are getting help with their energy costs through the Warm Home Discount. This gives a discount of about £140 on electricity bills.
While there are fewer households in fuel poverty in England, in comparison with 2010, there are now new targets in place to make sure that there is an average or minimum standard for energy efficiency in such fuel poor households.
In older houses in particular, there may be insufficient insulation and radiators or boilers might need to be upgraded to meet more efficient standards. It is well worth reviewing what measures can be taken to ensure homes are more energy efficient. There are schemes like the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation which can help.
Energy suppliers can also help with information about smart meters, offered to every household and small business. As well as giving accurate information to each household about energy consumption, the meters are designed to make it easier to switch energy suppliers.
Keep Warm This Winter is a useful document published online by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and is available at www.gov.uk/ warmthiswinter.