As fuel bills continue to rise, now more than ever, people are focusing upon energy efficiency within the home. As a council, we are committed to helping our residents to reduce their fuel bills, keep warmer through the winter months and to reduce our borough’s carbon emissions.
We are committed to working with our partners and energy providers, to provide concise and up to date information and advice on energy efficiency initiatives available include developing cost saving tariffs for low income or vulnerable customers which is delivered through the council’s Energy Efficiency Advice Service. For more information on keeping warm and 'snug as a bug' in your home call the Dudley energy advice line on 01384 817086.
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With gas and electricity prices more than doubling in less than seven years and with this trend set to continue, borough residents are urged to sign up to Dudley’s big switch and potentially save money on their energy bills.
Dudley’s big switch is a collective energy switching scheme, designed to bring communities together to secure discounted tariffs from energy providers.
For many people it’s a struggle to keep their home warm enough during winter and each year thousands of people die as a result of being cold in their homes. Our winter warmth service is here to help stop this happening. The service has been developed specifically to help vulnerable people stay warm and well in their homes during winter.
The winter warmth service provides expert advice and practical hands on support to help vulnerable people keep warm. Things like help with paying fuel bills, emergency warmth payments, help finding the best energy tariff, even cold weather food parcels for people who can’t get out in cold weather, as well as regular visits from local befrienders to check on vulnerable people during the winter.
Winter warmth aims to help keep vulnerable people warm, well and in touch during the winter. Anyone concerned about getting cold themselves, or worried about a friend, relative or neighbour can call and request assistance.
Winter warmth support can be contacted on 01384 817086.
The Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA) was established by the government to provide a statutory requirement for all councils to produce annual reports which showed the domestic energy performance of all of their residential properties – indicating the overall energy efficiency.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has now replaced the initial format with a revised version, which requires councils to submit their report, and to publish it on their website by 31 March 2013 and to then update this every two years.
Our HECA report sets out the actions that we propose to take to improve the energy efficiency of our residential housing stock (all housing in the borough) to reduce fuel poverty and cut carbon emissions. It was approved by cabinet in March 2013 and has been submitted to the Secretary of State.
Energy performance certificates (EPCs) were introduced in April 2008 and are required for buildings when they are built, sold or rented and provide an energy performance rating for the building. These certificates are similar to those provided with domestic appliances and provide you with an idea of the how expensive it may be to heat your home.
Making your home more energy efficient will reduce your annual fuel bills. In addition, by using less energy you will automatically produce less carbon, which is good for the environment. As a starting point, follow 3 simple steps:
Reduce the amount of energy that you actually use
Look at the many energy wasting appliance in your home (heating, appliance, lighting etc.)and replace them with energy efficient alternatives
Insulate your home – loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and draught proofing
It is also important to consider how much you are paying to heat your home. The Dudley energy advice can compare your tariff with other provider's to get the best price. Contact the service on 01384 817086 for help and advice with switching to a better tariff.
The link between ill health and fuel poverty has been clearly established. A cold indoor environment increases the incidence of ill health. Respiratory illnesses, heart attacks and strokes are all exacerbated by the cold. In addition cold, damp housing conditions lead to increased fungi growth and dust mites which can aggravate conditions such as asthma. We are committed to helping our residents achieve affordable warmth by highlighting grants and discount schemes and offering advice on energy efficiency. See below for advice on these schemes.
In 2012, following recommendations from an Independent Review of Fuel Poverty in England led by Professor John Hills, the Government adopted a new definition of fuel poverty. The review recommended that the UK Government replaced the ‘10% measure of fuel poverty’ with the ‘Low Income High Costs’ (LHIC) indicator. It also proposed a second measure, the ‘fuel poverty gap’ to reflect the severity of fuel poverty experienced by fuel poor households.
In England under the LIHC definition, for a household to be in fuel poverty, households must:
Have an income after housing costs of less than 60% of the national median level (often referred to living below the poverty line); and
Need to spend more than the national median amount on household energy costs for lighting, cooking, appliance usage, hot water and heating rooms to acceptable levels (usually defined as 21C for the main living area)
The LIHC indicators make a clearer link between needed expenditure on energy and income levels.
In 2015, the Government amended The Warm Homes Act 2000 to provide a new statutory framework for fuel poverty to 2030.
The Fuel Poverty Strategy for England introduces a new target to improve the homes of fuel poor households, as far as reasonably practicable, to EPC Band ‘C’ by 2030, with interim milestones of EPC E by 2020 and EPC D by 2025. It also includes provisions for a new Fuel Poverty Advisory Group and an annual parliamentary debate on progress on meeting the fuel poverty target.
With the introduction of The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) Regulations in 2014, after 2016, private landlords will not be able to unreasonably refuse requests from tenants for energy efficiency improvements where financial support is available from national and local schemes.
From April 2018 it will be unlawful to grant a tenancy of a private property with an EPC rating of below E unless an exemption applies. Landlords will only be able to rely on an exemption if they have registered it on the PRS Exemptions Register. The Exemptions Register will not be available for landlords to register until 1st October 2017.
Currently, the only Government programme that assists households to upgrade the energy efficiency of their property is the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). The ECO was launched in 2013 and is currently in its second obligation period, which is due to end on 31st March 2017. The Government Spending Review 2015 announced plans for a supplier obligation to run for 5 years from April 2017 at an estimated level of £640m per year. The proposed scheme will be the primary vehicle through which Government would meet its manifesto commitment to insulate a million more homes over this Parliament, support its commitment to tackle fuel poverty, whilst making progress towards carbon budgets.
Under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Regulations 2017-2018, local councils are able to set their own eligibility criteria for funding for energy efficiency improvements to privately owned homes. This funding has to be aimed at those residents who are at the most risk of living in fuel poverty.
Details of Dudley’s criteria these can be found in our statement of intent below.
Please note that the final decision on whether funding is available to individual households will be made by the energy suppliers and is based on the following factors:
the survey carried out and installation costs
the energy savings that can be achieved by having the work done
whether suppliers have funding available at the time of application
There are a number of grants and discount schemes available to homeowners, private tenants and private landlords, which can help to make homes more energy efficient. These include helping with such things as new boilers, cavity wall and loft insulation and draught proofing the home.
For free impartial advice on energy savings measures including access to a range of grants contact Dudley’s Energy Advice Service free on 01384 817086.
Energy Saving Trust, formed in 1992, is a social enterprise with a charitable Foundation. Through our partnerships we offer impartial advice to communities and households on how to reduce carbon emissions, use water more sustainably and save money on energy bills. For free and impartial advice on how to save energy in your home, contact the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 you just pay the price of a national rate call.
Renewable energy comes from naturally available sources, such as the sun, wind, water and plants. By exploiting renewable energy few, if any harmful emissions are produced and the rate at which the world limited energy sources are used is reduced. The government is proposing that10% of UK electricity needs should be met by renewables by the end of 2010 and some 205 by 2020.
We can all make a real difference by considering installing solar water heating, solar electricity or even a mini wind turbine. Alternatively, choose a green electricity tariff. The Energy Saving Trust has lots of information and advice on renewable energy sources on its website.