En­ergy ef­fi­ciency can also keep win­ter cold at bay

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY -

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.

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