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Fuel Poverty



 

A key issue in our area is improving the energy efficiency of people's homes.  Fuel poverty is a particular challenge because of the geography of Northumberland, and has a major influence on health.  Detailed information about needs in Northumberland is available in our most recent progress report on the Home Energy Conservation Act 

Current initiatives which the Council is involved in to address issues about energy efficiency and health include:
  • Ready to Switch - A collective energy switching scheme with other North East local authorities which uses the power of collective bargaining to reduce people’s energy bills.
  • Warm Up North Central Heating Fund project - Northumberland are leading the project on behalf of the Warm Up North partnership. The Council was awarded £6.5 million to install first time central heating to households at risk of fuel poverty. To date the Council have installed c.400 central heating systems across the nine local authority areas including 120 properties within Northumberland. We are awaiting a decision on whether the deadline for the project will be extended to February 2017. This will give us time to complete installations for the 800 referrals that are part way through the application, survey and install process plus potentially some additional properties if we can get them signed up in time.
  • The Renewable Energy Heat Incentive - This is led by the Council’s Arm’s length Management Organisation, Homes for Northumberland, and makes use of funding from Renewable Heat Payment Premium to deliver energy saving property adaptations.
  • The Gentoo ‘Boilers on Prescription’ pilot is targeted towards those living with medical conditions exacerbated by cold draughty homes, and living in fuel poverty in a given clinical commissioning population. There is significant evidence to suggest that warmer homes improve the health of vulnerable people helping them to stay independent in their own homes.  Local GPs can refer patients into this scheme based on agreed criteria, with improvements carried out to homes at no cost to the patient. The type of home improvements carried out may include:
  • Replacing single glazed windows with double glazing
  • Installing energy efficient boilers
  • Loft and cavity insulation
  • External Wall Insulation
  • Internal Wall Insulation
  • Draught-proofing