The current energy market is causing a number of issues for people across the UK. Many households are now facing fuel poverty and cannot afford to heat their homes. Energy bills are too high, homes are poorly insulated, and properties with low energy efficiency ratings are polluting our air and contributing to the environmental crisis we currently face as a result of global warming.
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has introduced a £34m Energy for Londoners programme, which aims to make London’s homes warm, healthy and affordable, its workplaces more energy efficient, and to supply the capital with more clean local energy.
Why was the programme introduced?
The Mayor said: “It’s a sad fact that for many Londoners, keeping their homes warm during the cold winter months is a luxury they simply cannot afford.” Government statistics show that a shocking 341,000 London households live in fuel poverty. According to the Department for Energy and Climate Change, a household is said to be in fuel poverty if: they have required fuel costs above the national average. And, they would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line if they were to spend that amount on energy.
Cold, damp homes can create a number of health problems including asthma and flu, and can even lead to winter deaths. It is estimated by the World Health Organisation that 30% of winter deaths are caused by people living in cold homes.
The programme has also been introduced as a way to support green energy practices and reduce carbon emissions. The Mayor has set the ambition for London to be a zero carbon city by 2050. To achieve this, London’s homes and businesses will need to be provided with clean, renewable energy.
What does the programme involve?
The Energy for Londoners programme will involve a number of projects which will include:
Making homes warmer and more affordable
The Mayor will help low income households heat their homes and save money on energy bills with the following projects:
- Warmer Homes – £2.5m of grant funding will target some of the most vulnerable households, including homeowners with disabilities, and older people claiming eligible benefits, with up to £4,000 available per household. These grants can be used on boilers, double glazing, insulation, or other improvements to help heat their homes.
- Fuel Poverty Support Fund – £250,000 of grant funding will be used to offer advice to vulnerable households suffering from fuel-poverty or fuel-debt, along with referrals to support services when necessary.
- Fuel Poverty Partnership – The scheme will bring together experts across the health, social, and environmental sectors to deliver long-term advice to support vulnerable households and get them out of fuel poverty.
- Switching suppliers – The Mayor wants to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions by encouraging more Londoners to switch to cleaner energy providers. Advisors at Citizens Advice have been provided with training so they are able to give energy advice to Londoners looking to switch to energy efficient providers and save money.
Making workplaces more energy efficient
The scheme will also target businesses across the capital to help improve their energy efficiency, with projects including:
- RE:FIT London – This is a programme which increases energy efficiency, reduces carbon emissions, and improves air quality, in London’s public-sector buildings through retrofitting.
- Cleaner Heat Cashback – This is a £10m commercial boiler scrappage scheme that offers small businesses grants to replace old, inefficient, and polluting boilers with new, cleaner sources of heat.
Cleaner local energy
The Mayor wants to supply more of London’s homes and businesses with cleaner, locally produced energy. His Solar Action Plan details how he will take advantage of solar energy and increase installations over the coming years. The Mayor has developed a number of local, clean energy projects which includes:
- Solar Together Plan – This is a group buying scheme for solar panels, where boroughs are able to bulk-buy solar panels and then sell them to Londoners at a cheaper price. This incentive will encourage Londoners to install solar panels and thus reduce the carbon footprint of energy generation.
- London Community Energy Fund – The Mayor wants to see more communities involved in producing energy locally. This scheme will help communities develop local power projects such as putting solar panels on schools and sports centres.
The Mayor is committed to making London’s homes warmer, healthier and more affordable. The Energy for Londoners programme will address fuel poverty, and help make homes and businesses more energy efficient by improving access to clean, local power across the capital.
If you want to know how to make your home warmer right now, EPC For You can provide you with a quality EPC assessment in London with recommendations on improvements you can make to your home.