England has faced an incredibly amount of fuel poverty recently. As of March 25, 2013, over 16,000 households across the districts of East Staffordshire, South Derbyshire, and North West Leicestershire face fuel poverty on a daily basis. Due to this excessive fuel poverty, a Cheaper Energy Together initiative has been launched in order to fight fuel poverty, and hopefully, to reduce if not completely eliminate fuel poverty in these locations. This initiative is backed by the Beat the Cold charity. The chief officer of the Beat the Cold charity, Martin Chadwick, noted that the incredible numbers of those in fuel poverty speak for themselves. Indeed, he believes that fuel poverty affects young children and the elderly the most, and that it is an issue that has reached crisis level locally.
The Cheaper Energy Together initiative is also backed by public bodies and councils. Basically, the Cheaper Energy Together initiative urges those households in fuel poverty to face their bills as a larger group, rather than as individual households. The families could sign up for an “energy bill negotiating group,” which could cut about £206, or $313, from the costs of each house. Overall, nearly 10,000 homes in East Staffordshire were in fuel poverty in 2010, which is about 21.5% of all homes in the district. There is a similar plight in South Derbyshire, and other local districts, that have up to 25% of their citizens fighting against fuel poverty.
PeoplesPower is an organization that supports the Cheaper Energy Together initiative, and Mike Shamash, the director, noted that this initiative is an alternative to the standard energy market. It is meant to put customers and individuals over profits. The end goal in group bills is not to get money, but to save money for those who desperately need cheaper prices for energy.
On a slightly different note, the Cheaper Energy Together initiative is far from the only initiative fighting fuel poverty in England, or even in these specific districts. Another such initiative is the “Warmer Homes Healthier People” strategy launched by the East Staffordshire Borough Council. This strategy gives free check-ups to homes considered to be in fuel poverty (more than 10% of their income is used towards fuel), among other things like energy efficiency visits, debt management advice, and more. Overall, both the Cheaper Energy Together initiative and the Warmer Homes Healthier People strategy attempt to reduce fuel poverty, and they are only two of the initiatives that have been launched in recent years; and hopefully, with a bit of luck and dedication of their members, they will create a more powerful effect as time goes on.
– Corina Balsamo
Sources: Burton Mail, Cheaper Energy Together, Staffs Foundation, Central Bedfordshire
Photo: Sun Motors