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Fuel poverty: Help for residents to beat the cold in Haringey pilot project

Haringey Council is concerned some residents could be losing out under new energy guidelines. Picture: Katie Collins/PA Haringey Council is concerned some residents could be losing out under new energy guidelines. Picture: Katie Collins/PA

Tuesday, December 31, 2013
11:00 AM

Haringey residents who receive certain benefits are being encouraged to consider beefing up the energy efficiency of their homes in a new pilot project to reduce winter heating costs and help the environment.

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Those who qualify could get a new boiler and radiators, insulation measures or even an entire new central heating system fitted.

Haringey Council has linked up with London Warm Zones in a pilot project to examine potential flaws in a new programme that major energy companies signed up to this year.

The Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHRCO) places legal obligations on the larger energy suppliers to deliver energy efficiency measures that will help reduce bills to some domestic customers.

That includes a duty to offer funding to vulnerable or lower-income households where energy efficiency could be improved with new insulation, a new boiler, and so on.

The pilot will test potential anomalies in that scheme, as the council is concerned that larger properties will attract greater funding while those living in smaller homes in Haringey could lose out, despite having to contribute to the overall cost of the scheme through their fuel bills.

The pilot scheme will survey individual properties to ensure each household receives exactly the measures needed to improve the efficiency of its heating system.

Issues have also been raised over the quality of the installations carried out and the inspection regime, so the pilot will also check these.

Cllr Alan Strickland, cabinet member for housing said: “We know that soaring heating bills are a very real concern for hundreds of Haringey families already facing serious financial pressures, and we are determined to do all we can to ensure that those who are eligible get the support they are entitled to.

“Whilst fixing a faulty boiler may keep a home warm in the short-term, more work is often needed to ensure heating systems work efficiently. Just patching up heating problems won’t save people money in the long run, but forking out for more significant improvements is often not possible.

“The aim of our pilot scheme is to ensure that low-income households get access to quality heating and insulation products and service.”

The scheme is only available to private renting tenants and owner occupiers who receive certain benefits.

For more information go to the London Warm Zones Affordable Warmth Pilot Scheme pages on the council’s website, telephone the council’s Fuel Poverty officer John Mathers on 020 8489 1468 or email affordable.warmth@haringey.gov.uk.

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