FRIDAY 15 February marks Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, when organisations across the country, including Cambridge City Council, are raising awareness of the problems faced by those struggling to keep warm in their homes, and highlighting initiatives that are in place to tackle the issue.
Around four million UK households are in fuel poverty and are unable to afford to live in a warm, dry home. This issue also affects Cambridge residents, with the latest Government figures stating that over 5,000 residents here are in fuel poverty.
However there is support available in Cambridge to help local residents on low income who are struggling to pay energy bills. The council can visit people’s homes to assess their heating, hot water and insulation and recommend improvements, some of which can be installed immediately at no cost.
If substantial improvements are necessary the council can advise on any grants available and help with applications. Residents can also find out about switching energy and water providers to ensure they are paying the best possible rates, and about receiving any discounts they may be eligible for.
The council’s Home Energy Officer is holding a drop-in session in the reception area at Mandela House, Regent Street, on Tuesday 19 February from 10am. No appointment is necessary so any resident who would benefit from advice on their home energy and water can simply call in that morning.
A number of useful tips for saving energy and water in the home are featured in the council’s booklet ‘Greening Your Home’ which is available on the council website at www.cambridge.gov.uk/greening-your-home or from the Customer Service Centre at Mandela House.
Among the simple steps that householders can take to save energy and water are:
- Properly insulating roof, loft and walls
- Insulating hot water tank and pipes
- Ensuring rooms are ventilated and draught-proofed
- Installing heating controls to regulate heat in different parts of the home
- Switching off appliances rather than leaving them in standby mode
- Placing a ‘hippo’ water displacement advice in the toilet cistern to use less water when it flushes
- Repairing dripping taps
- Installing a water meter
Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities said: “Nobody should have to live in a cold, damp home or struggle to pay their energy bills but sadly that’s the reality for many people in Cambridge.
“Events like Fuel Poverty Awareness Day are a great way of letting people know that the council can help them make some simple changes at home which can have a very real effect on their wellbeing and their finances.
“At Cambridge City Council we want to do what we can to help. That’s why we have invested in a home energy officer.
“On average the officer is able to help struggling households save over £200 a year. I’d really recommend getting in touch with the council or going down to Mandela House on 19 February to find out more.”
For more information on home energy and saving money on household bills, residents can phone 01223 457900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org