Guest blog: How Peabody is taking action to fight fuel poverty
Sustainability Manager Graeme Maughan explains how Peabody is taking action to combat fuel poverty.
Around one in four of the UK population is in fuel poverty, and millions more are struggling to pay their fuel bills. Another year of inflation busting energy prices, combined with a prolonged period of cold weather has forced many people to make the desperate choice between heating their home or feeding their family.
As it stands, a household is officially 'fuel poor' if it spends more than 10% of its income to maintain "an adequate level of warmth".
On average, at least 7,800 people die every year from living in cold homes – more than four times the number of people who die on British roads. Cold homes are not only leading to the deaths of thousands of older people each winter, they are costing the NHS in England £1.36 billion a year due to the devastating impact on people’s health.
We are really concerned about the financial pressures many Peabody residents face, particularly as fuel costs continue to rise, and I wanted to outline some of the measures and initiatives we have in place to support residents and help to combat fuel poverty:
- We’ve launched a new service to help residents get to grips with their fuel bills. Our Fuel Bills Advice Officers can visit your home for a one hour consultation. We believe residents could save between £40 and £120 a year on their fuel bills if they follow our recommendations.
- As part of our winter wellbeing campaign a team of 75 staff members visited all residents over 80, to carry out carbon monoxide alarm checks and to give heating advice.
- Our teams of welfare benefits advisors and tenant support workers help our residents stay out of debt, signposting them to debt advocacy services as well as offering practical advice and help with form filling.
- Our commitment to environmental sustainability, improving the environmental performance of our homes and reducing fuel poverty, is deep-rooted and underpins our asset management programmes. As part of our Quality Homes programme we’re installing new boilers and more efficient insulation and windows, to help keep heating bills down.
We believe it’s possible to have warm homes and reduce fuel bills, which is why we’re supporting the Energy Bill Revolution Campaign.
The Energy Bill Revolution is a coalition of organisations who are concerned about the millions of people who are living in fuel poverty or who struggle to pay fuel bills. The campaign is calling on government to recycle taxes levied on the most polluting energy sources, and use them to improve the energy efficiency of those homes struggling to pay.
If the government recycled its taxes from polluting fuel sources, it could lift 9 out of 10 homes out of fuel poverty. We think that’s worth supporting. And there are other benefits: it would help create new jobs, to ensure cold homes were properly upgraded, and it would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from homes and power plants, tackling dangerous climate change.
You can support the Energy Bill Revolution by signing this petition.
You can also write to your MP to ask them to support the campaign:
Are you living in “fuel poverty”?
Pensioners can receive a Warm Homes Discount from their energy provider. It should be applied automatically, but you can call your energy provider to check you’re receiving it. Older people can also contact AgeUK who can help find better energy deals. Call 0800 169 6565 and ask about their energy bills service.
Arrange a fuel bills advice visit
We offer a face to face advice service in your home, to advise on how to control your heating and electricity use. To arrange a visit, call Peabody Direct on 0800 022 4040 or firstname.lastname@example.org