Fuel Poverty Awareness Day
Northern Ireland’s voluntary and statutory organisations come together to pledge support to charity National Energy Action’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day by pledging to do more to ‘tackle cold homes’. Fuel Poverty Awareness Day is a national campaign to highlight the problem of fuel poverty, which currently sees over four million households unable to afford the energy they need to stay warm and healthy in their homes. It is a particular problem for those in low incomes living in energy inefficient homes that are difficult and expensive to heat.
Living in a cold damp home can lead to extremely poor health, especially in those who are vulnerable such as older people, young children, and those with long term sickness and disabilities. Not only will it be causing misery for millions of people this winter, but also placing a huge strain on our already stretched health services. In Northern Ireland alone, 42% of households are believed to be in fuel poverty.
Pat Austin, Director of NEA in Northern Ireland said:
“Fuel poverty is a serious problem and one that we cannot tackle alone. I am delighted that CCNI, NIHE, Bryson Energy, Energy Saving Trust and the Public Health Agency have supported our campaign, and that other organisations including Choice Housing, Age NI are also supporting the campaign and the Thunderclap, helping us ensure that adequate resources are committed to help Northern Ireland households can enjoy affordable warmth and live warm, healthy and happy lives.”
John French, Chief Executive at the Consumer Council said:
“The Consumer Council is delighted to support Fuel Poverty Awareness Day. Our research continuously tells us that consumers’ biggest concern is with their energy bills. Consumers can reduce the size of their energy bills by shopping around for the best deal and switching suppliers. We would encourage consumers to use our interactive, independent energy price comparison tool and “Switch On” guides to see what the best deal is for them.”
NIHE Sustainable Development Manager Robert Clements said:
“Fuel Poverty Awareness Day is an important opportunity to highlight how energy efficiency can be improved in the home and showcase the help that is available. We are the home energy conservation authority for Northern Ireland and last year invested over £21m in upgrading 4,600 heating systems and a further £11m in providing energy efficient windows in our homes. “We also promote practical, cost-effective measures to help improve energy efficiency in all homes and reduce fuel poverty. The Affordable Warmth Scheme targets low incomes households and offers a range of energy efficiency improvement measures including loft and cavity wall insulation, new and replacement heating systems and replacement windows where appropriate. The Boiler Replacement Scheme offers a grant towards the replacement of old and inefficient boilers and the hugely successful oil buying clubs assist householders to budget for their fuel bills. This work, in collaboration with the Department for Communities, is clearly making a real difference to people’s lives.”
Patrick Thompson from the Energy Saving Trust says:
“From simple behaviour changes to deep retrofit of homes, energy efficiency is a critical part of addressing fuel poverty. The Energy Saving Trust in Northern Ireland is proud to support today's Fuel Poverty Awareness Day.”
Katie Pilkington, Senior Manager at Bryson Energy said:
“Bryson Energy is the leading provider of impartial, independent energy advice in Northern Ireland. We provide a range of advice and support services to thousands of households each year. We fully support today’s awareness campaign and pledge to continue to work with the Fuel Poverty Coalition to help tackle the issue of fuel poverty. A number of our services are specifically designed to assist those struggling with energy bills and living in cold, damp homes. We encourage all households to contact our free phone number for free and impartial advice 0800 14 22 865.”