SOMERSET Fuel Poverty Partnership is calling on the Government to back a home insulation scheme that could make a real difference to people’s lives.
The partnership was officially launched last month and includes West Somerset Council and the five other Somerset local authorities, as well as the Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol, Age Concern Somerset, and Somerset Primary Care Trust
It has written to Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband to ask for his support.
The partnership is backing a call for a massive investment programme to insulate half of all homes in England and Wales via a £500 million contribution from energy suppliers.
The scheme could lift 500,000 people out of fuel poverty, knock £200 a year off the energy bills of 10 million households, and cut domestic carbon emissions by 20 per cent.
Funding would come from the six main energy companies matching pound for pound the existing contributions from householders, raising an extra £500 million a year.
Under the proposals put forward by the Local Government Association (LGA), energy watchdog Ofgem would prevent the firms from passing on the charges to their customers.
Fuel poverty partnership chairman David Baxter said in the letter to Mr Miliband: “Measures such as the winter allowance obviously help those who are particularly vulnerable, but what is needed are long-term measures to reduce energy use and improve the housing stock.
“Despite rising fuel costs, take-up of the schemes run by energy suppliers is low due to consumer mistrust.
“A cross-party group of MPs has backed the LGA’s proposals that councils should instead take the lead.
“Local authorities would encourage many more householders to take part because councils are trusted more than suppliers and have a profound knowledge of their local area and housing stock.
“Councils would also boost confidence in home insulation schemes by providing accountability for the first time over how the money is raised and spent.
“We would welcome the opportunity to work with you in raising awareness of this policy and would be grateful for your consideration of how we could work together to take this forward.”