Renfrewshire Council Leader hits our at rising fuel costs
Renfrewshire Council’s Leader Mark Macmillan has hit out at the latest hikes in energy prices, saying the move will force the area’s most vulnerable residents into fuel poverty this winter.
British Gas has announced above-inflation price rises from November that will add £80 a year to the average bill, with Scottish and Southern Energy set to increase charges by 9% from next week.
Renfrewshire Council Leader, Councillor Mark Macmillan said: “People in Renfrewshire will quite rightly be angry at yet more price hikes by the major energy providers in time for winter. The real worry is that residents will struggle to heat their homes at a time when UK benefits are being cut – with children and pensioners going cold this year. Quite frankly, that’s not good enough. Local people have an absolute right to be safe and warm in their homes this winter.
“I urge the UK Government and energy regulator to do more to break the dominance of these large companies, to simplify tariffs and to protect vulnerable customers from being ripped off. Families and businesses who continue to feel the squeeze of the recession need more transparency from energy companies on pricing and profits.
“In Renfrewshire Council we are delivering a range of improvements in our housing stock to improve the energy efficiency of homes, reduce fuel consumption and energy costs, and address fuel poverty for our tenants – but the bottom line is that Renfrewshire residents need a better deal on energy costs during these tough times.
“I’d urge everyone to take steps now to do what they can to avoid crippling bills as winter progresses. Steps can include making use of offers of free loft and cavity wall insulation, trying an energy switch website to see if it finds you a better deal, speaking to one of our energy advisers or looking at the Energy Saving Trust website for efficiency tips.”
Renfrewshire Council’s own improvements for its housing stock include:
* Installing more efficient heating systems in over 3,750 houses in the past two years. Further programmes planned to 2015 should see upgrades in a further 4,000 homes.
* A range of insulation programmes planned or in progress including loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and thermal over cladding. Projects include the over cladding of high rise blocks incorporating 180 homes at Gallowhill and Glencairn Courts currently in progress. A further 630 high rise homes will benefit from programmes over the coming 2 – 3 years.
* Insulation measures completed on over 800 terraced and semi detached houses by April next year and with upgrades then started on a range of shared blocks of flats and maisonettes.
The council is also taking part in the Universal Home Insulation Scheme UHIS which provides energy efficiency measures such as cavity wall insulation and loft insulation to private home owners.
Help and advice
* Renfrewshire residents who would like to be considered for insulation measures, call 0800 512 012 (quoting: Renfrewshire UHIS 2011).
* Renfrewshire is one of the few councils to offer an Energy Advice Service where help and support is available over the phone with home visits available to help reduce fuel bills. Our Energy Advice team can be contacted on 0141 840 3704.
* British Gas Free Insulation Programme ends on 30 November. Check www.britishgas.co.uk/insulation for full details.
* To check if you or a relative is eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme go to directgov.co.uk and type Warm Home Discount Scheme into the search box.
* The Energy Saving Trust website is full of useful tips and can be found at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk