For a second consecutive year, OFTEC has been adding fuel to ‘Cold Homes Week’, a national campaign to improve energy efficiency in properties across the UK and help put a stop to the thousands of people who die each year from the cold. Cold Homes Week is run by the Energy Bill Revolution (EBR) which brings together more than 200 businesses, charities and organisations in support of ending fuel poverty – a term given to households which cannot afford to keep their properties adequately warm at a reasonable cost, given their income.
According to EBR, one of the main problems is that UK homes are amongst the least energy efficient in Europe, resulting in higher energy bills. As the majority of oil using homes are older, rural properties with the worst Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings of F and G – approximately 80% of oil heated homes in England fall into this category – OFTEC is keen to support the cause.
To this end, during Cold Homes Week, OFTEC will be writing to the major political parties and rural MPs to highlight the issue and urge for more practical measures to form part of their election manifestos.
OFTEC director general Jeremy Hawksley says: “Last winter there were 18,200 excess winter deaths, the majority of which were elderly people dying from the cold, which in this day and age is totally unacceptable. Even though oil prices have plummeted in recent months to a four year low, fuel poverty is still more likely in oil heated households due to poor insulation levels and the high number of old, inefficient boilers still in use.
“EBR’s campaign, which calls on the Government to launch a much more ambitious programme to make all UK homes super energy efficient, directly aligns with OFTEC’s own work. As part of this we are urging all the political parties to add a generous boiler scrappage scheme covering all condensing types, to their manifestos ahead of the general election. Also to provide particular support to better insulate rural homes which tend to be least energy efficient.
“Simply upgrading to a modern condensing boiler could see average fuel bills cut by as much as 50% compared to this time last year, with better insulation measures resulting in even greater savings. Fuel poverty is an urgent issue which needs to be tackled now.”
OFTEC has also teamed up with Age UK to produce a booklet for older people, who are most at risk, to help them keep warm and well during the winter. Click here for a PDF. Additionally, the Oilsave website http://www.oilsave.org.uk contains lots of useful tips on becoming more energy efficient.
For more information please visit the Cold Homes Week website – http://www.energybillrevolution.org/coldhomesweek/