Croydon Council has approved a £100,000 three-year scheme to save low-income households £400 on their energy bills. Though the council is a little more coy when it comes to explaining that those savings will be slowly accrued, at a rate of less than £30 a year over 15 years.
The Croydon Healthy Homes initiative was approved at the council cabinet meeting at the Town Hall on Monday.
It represents the latest “Good News” announcement in a flurry of positive stories from the council press office, being pushed out by the Labour-run authority in a rush before the start of the month-long pre-election purdah period begins next week.
The council claims that Healthy Homes will give more than 600 struggling households help with their energy costs, including:
• Free energy assessments
• Support to find the best tariffs for gas and electricity
• A property survey to see if they need larger energy-saving measures, such as wall insulation
• Advice on whether they are eligible for means-tested help with their bills
Each assessment will include the fitting of small energy efficiency measures such as radiator reflector panels, support with energy bills and advice on avoiding damp and mould issues.
Eligible households will also be referred to the Greater London Authority’s Warmer Homes scheme, which funds the installation of energy-efficient boilers, cavity wall and loft insulation, and other improvements for homeowners on benefits.
In addition, the council plans to offer energy-saving and money-saving advice to the wider public at eight outreach events across the borough next autumn and winter.
The scheme follows a trial in the winter of 2016-2017 which provided free fitting of energy-saving measures in 213 households in the private sector – suggesting that the scheme is being used to undertake some private landlords’ maintenance work for them.
The council press release states that the measures will have saved the households “an average of £416 each over a 15-year period”. Which works out at a pretty paltry £27 a year… But if there’s an election coming up and you’re desperate to get some positive stories out there… any positive stories… then this is perhaps what you can expect.
The scheme is being delivered at a cost of a little less than £100,000, with money from the Section 106 Community Energy Fund, to which developers contribute to offset their schemes’ carbon footprints.
Based on Government figures, Croydon has 14,085 households that are considered to be “fuel poor”, meaning they have higher than average energy costs that would leave them with a disposable income below the poverty line.
“Croydon Healthy Homes is designed for homeowners and residents in the private rented sector, who can refer themselves or be referred by professionals such as GPs or social workers,” the council announcement states.
Stuart King, Labour’s cabinet member for environment and stuff, said: “Poor energy efficiency is bad for the environment and bad for household budgets. It also disproportionately affects vulnerable people living in households in fuel poverty.
“This scheme gives those households free support to help reduce their fuel bills as well as make the borough more energy-efficient.”
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