Helping to address fuel poverty was one of the reasons why Bristol Energy was set up in 2016. We’re now marking our second birthday, and Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, by launching a new fuel poverty fund to do even more.
Today (Friday 23 February 2018) is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day. Why does that matter? Because:
- Right here, right now in Bristol, 1 in every 8 households is in fuel poverty.1
- Fuel poverty is widespread, and it is estimated that cold homes cost the NHS a £3.6m per day.2
- Reduce fuel poverty and not only can we make people healthier, we can also take huge pressure of our health services.
The UK has the second-worst rate of excess winter deaths in Europe, according to new research launched today by National Energy Action and the climate change charity E3G.
A total of 168,000 excess winter deaths have been recorded in the UK over the latest five-year period. The research comes as Britain looks set for a “polar votex”, predicted to bring with it plummeting temperatures next week.
Bristol Energy’s Fuel Good Fund will support a variety of initiatives across the city, including the Warmer Homes and Money (WHAM) project, a scheme set up three local charities: Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE), Talking Money and We Care Repair.
The project helps local residents who are struggling with high fuel bills, and cold, damp homes. The support ranges from boiler repairs to draught-proofing, money advice to simply fitting a decent pair of curtains to keep out the cold.
Peter Haigh, Managing Director said:
“We offer the fairest energy prices we can, but cheap energy bills alone will not help people out of fuel poverty.
“This new fund will help people access simple home improvements that could be life changing”.
Lisa Evans, leads the WHAM project for CSE:
“We regularly meet people who are feeling the full impact of fuel poverty.
“A few years ago we visited the mother of two severely asthmatic children who was so fed up with the mould covering the inside of her home she had painted the walls black, so she was spared the misery of looking at it.
“In cases like these you don’t need to know the statistics to understand how much cold homes can impact people’s health and wellbeing.
“We want to make sure no Bristol resident suffers a cold home. Bristol Energy’s new fund will help support this mission.”
The consequences of a cold home can also be life threatening. A couple of years ago the CSE team met a client with severe respiratory problems, who needed to use an oxygen machine 24 hours a day.
At one of his hospital check-ups, a health worker discovered that the gentleman was at risk of having his power cut off, because he couldn’t afford to top-up his pre-payment meter. This would mean being unable to run his oxygen machine.
To try to keep up payments, he had been turning his heating off and living in one room. This caused severe anxiety, alongside the daily grind of dealing with debt, living in a cold uncomfortable home and consequently worsening health.
Bristol Energy and the Centre for Sustainable Energy will also be holding energy efficiency events across the city this year, showing people how to make simple changes to reduce their energy bills.