The Footprint Trust has for the first time heavily criticised the government over its lack of action over the pending massive energy bill rises. Consumers on the Isle of Wight will be faced with energy bill rises of up to £600 from April this year.
Martin Lewis speaking recently on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme highlighted the forthcoming price hike, the biggest jump for decades caused by global wholesale price increases. The situation has led to over twenty energy companies going bust. There have been calls for the government to soften the blow for householders by cutting VAT and government enforced environmental and social obligation costs charged on domestic bills, which make up around fifteen percent of the average bill.
Speaking on behalf of the Trust their General Manager and senior energy officer said,
“The government is not to blame for the international crises, but it does have time to act now, to prevent thousands of Islanders falling into fuel poverty. Hundreds of people here are already turning off the heat and sitting in cold damp homes, this will turn into thousands next winter, unless action is taken now.”
“The government has a number of options, which could include increasing the Warm Home Discount and suspending VAT on energy bills, it could also choose to remove or reduce the green social tariff and to fund such measures out of general taxation.”
“In the meantime, householders need to insulate their homes, and replace old inefficient appliances and get into the habit to turning things off. We urge anyone who is concerned to contact us on 822282 for guidance and help.”
Real tips to save energy, save money and keep well…
“There is lots of advice given over social media about saving energy, but not all of it is correct, and some just repeats old myths. One is that most of your body’s heat escapes through your head. It doesn’t! Only about 10% is lost through your head. Wearing a hat is a good idea but more important to wear layers of clothing.”
Says Island resident and National Heat Hero, Ray Harrington-Vail, who works for the local Footprint Trust charity.
Another one is that most of the heat escapes from the roof or windows of your home, both wrong. Walls account for around 33% of heat loss, roof about 26% and windows around 18%. Good idea to insulate the whole house to really save money, the cost paid back in 5 years. Double glazing a good idea but payback will take much longer, but will also make your home more secure.
The debate about what temperature to keep your home is repeated every winter. Ideally you should try and keep some heating in all rooms, this helps prevent damp. But if you are on a limited budget then this is unrealistic.
For older people or for those with medical issues then keeping their living space and bedroom between 18C and 21C is recommended.
Lock the heat into your living space and bedroom, don’t waste money heating the hall or corridor. Keep doors closed.
For rooms not being used, then keep the heat on low, leave cupboard doors and drawers slightly open to allow air-flow. Try to open the window for a 10 minutes every day, to ventilate vacant rooms.
Ventilation must also be thought of to reduce infection levels in the home from flu or air-borne viruses such as Covid. Regular airing of inhabited rooms by opening windows for short periods of time can be effective at reducing concentrations of viruses in the air. SAGE have suggested having them open for 10 minutes every hour.
If you have gas central heating use it, don’t be fooled by marketing spin that electric heating is cheaper, it isn’t. Likewise with Night Storage Heaters, don’t use more expensive stand-alone heaters, and avoid unvented portable gas heaters. Get a carbon monoxide alarm for each room with a gas appliance, boiler or sold fuel burner. Have you boiler serviced every year to keep you safe, save energy and to make it last longer.
Some of grandma’s old tips are as relevant today as they were yesterday. So closing thick curtains at dusk will help prevent heat loss through windows. We now also have the option of fitting much cheaper thermal blackout blinds, which can be purchase from a number of on-line retailers. Charity shops can be a good place to find thick curtains when they reopen. Making a ‘door sausage’ to prevent draughts from blowing under your door is a winner. These can be made from a leg of an old pair of jeans or trousers, then stuffed with other old rags.
The Footprint Trust tells hundreds of Islanders every year about the £140 Warm Home Discount. Those receiving guarantee pension credit automatically get this sum taken off their electricity bill, providing they are with a leading supplier. Other householders have to apply to their energy company. So important to contact your utility company and see if you qualify.
Other free help is also available from water and energy companies through their Priority Services Register. This is for any household that has a vulnerable person living there. In the event of power or water failure you will be contacted to see if you need help. This can be done on line; https://www.ssen.co.uk/psr/southernwater/ or by phone on 0800 294 3259.
The Footprint Trust charity has been helping local people throughout the pandemic via its helpline on 822282. They have provided over £10,000 worth of grants to help people with energy issues.
Their work is funded by a number of bodies including; The National Lottery Community Fund, Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme, HM Government and the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation. Individual donations and those from the business community have also assisted their work.