Discover how one project has been assisting people to enjoy affordable warmth in Peterborough and Fenland
The independent charity Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) has been helping residents in Peterborough and Fenland to enjoy affordable warmth with its Healthy Homes project.
With more than two decades of experience working within the city and surrounding areas, PECT delivers innovative projects of local, regional and national significance, enabling change for a sustainable future. This community-based project, funded by the British Gas Energy Trust and managed by Charis Grants, aims to help local residents save money and improve the energy efficiency of their homes, whilst also lowering the carbon footprint of local communities and conserving limited natural resources.
When a household struggles to pay for adequate heating due to a combination of low income, high energy costs and poor insulation, it’s classed as being in fuel poverty. It’s a big problem, affecting about 8% of homes in Fenland and 10% in Peterborough, and has real consequences not only on a household’s finances but also on health. The impact of cold homes is estimated to cost the NHS £1.5 billion and accounts for more than 18,000 premature deaths each year.
‘Through a free home visit, I can advise residents on energy tariffs, available grant funding and positive behavioural measures,’ explains Project Officer Sam Bosson. ‘Plus, in addition to this, they will receive a free home energy pack, information on the national £140 Warm Home Discount, and even home improvements for those residents who meet the criteria.’
For more information about the project, please visit www.pect.org.uk/HealthyHomes
TOP TIPS TO CUT ENERGY BILLS
Even if you decide not to book a home visit, everyone can benefit from some simple tips to cut energy bills:
1. Loyalty doesn’t always pay! You could save hundreds of pounds by switching to a different tariff or supplier. You can compare prices in just a few minutes using www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity or www.greenenergyswitch.co.uk.
2. Check with your energy supplier to see if you’re eligible for any heating benefits such as the warm home discount, cold weather payments or winter fuel payments.
3. If you have an oil boiler, consider joining a buying group to cut costs or visit www.boilerjuice.com.
4. Review how you pay for your bills – most suppliers will offer a discount for paying by direct debit or using internet billing, usually around £75 per year.
5. Small behaviour changes can have a big effect – stopping using a tumble drier can save the average family £55 per year and using a washing up bowl for dishes rather than running a tap can cut your annual energy bill by £30. There are more tips to reduce energy usage on the Energy Saving Trust’s website.
6. Check if your bills are correct – are the costs based on actual or estimated meter readings (a letter ‘A’ next to the reading indicates an actual reading; ‘E’ , estimated; ‘C’, reading made by the customer)? Accurate meter readings are really important to avoid over or under paying, which could lead to a big credit or debt over time.
7. Upgrade to more efficient appliances and insulation. For example, loft insulation can slash costs – a three bedroom semi-detached house will typically save £140 per year, with a payback period of two years.
8. Consider investing in renewable energy sources. At the moment, Peterborough City Council residents have the opportunity to apply for free solar panels – find out more on www.peterborough.gov.uk.