This week an Energy Shambles. Next week: BIG Energy Saving Week

Did you know that 75% of consumers are on the most energy expensive tariff? Did you know that the numbers of energy consumers switching suppliers continuing to decline? The average consumer switching saved only around 50p a year and an awful lot ended up on a higher tariff! Fuel Poverty is now sky-rocketting again. So the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) has stepped in this year to try and help people get a better deal. Odd isn’t it? A few days ago almost nobody knew or cared – but now home-energy leads the TV News & is on the front page of every newspaper. Great publicity under appalling circumstances. So let’s get on and do something about it. YOU do not deserve to choose between food and heating this Winter.

“BIG Energy Saving Week 2012” starts Monday the 22nd October 2012 with a launch event outside High Wycombe Central Library in the Eden Centre (from 10am). The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is making this happen in partnership with Transition Town High Wycombe (TTHW), Bucks Students Union (BSU), the United Sustainable Energy Association (USEA), Red Kite, Wycombe Environment Centre (WEC) and Wycombe District Council (WDC). One of the planned CAB services will allow people to compare energy suppliers in order to get the best deal.

The objectives of the project is to improve take-up of energy saving applications by those people with lower than average incomes. Specifically: reduction in energy use/fuel bills of people living within Wycombe District, particularly those on lower than average incomes and with no loss of comfort within the home. Low income areas of the town will be targeted for leaflet drops and doorstep interviews. The work will include the existing network of Bucks Energy Champions as well as existing landlords. It is planned that the CAB will host an Energy Saving meeting for the private landlords forum to publicise free insulation, the availability of thermal imagining to identify potential improvements to a property and to highlight the impending implementation of the ‘Green Deal’ for private tenants.

This BIG Launch Awareness event in the Eden on Monday will supply information face to face regarding:

  • The new  ‘Green Deal’ and free insulation/installation up to December 2012 aimed at home owners and people in rented accommodation and private sector landlords
  • High Wycombe low energy Superhomes and Energy Saving packs to borrow from libraries
  • Thermal imaging of homes to spot energy loss
  • Energy Champions and their roles
  • CAB-assisted comparison of fuel tariffs for individual householders and advice on switching energy providers/tariffs
  • Referral to CAB Money Advice team for money advice, benefits checks and help with fuel debts
  • Services provided by local council, USEA, Red Kite Housing and TTHW to help manage fuel bills/energy use
  • Creating cosier homes (i.e. making draft excluders, thicker curtains etc)
  • Awareness of links between winter heating and health (particularly very young and the elderly)

This will certainly be flavour of the month won’t it? We suppose we should have our Prime Minister to thank – as well as the big energy companies and their even BIGGER price increases. In an open letter published this week by British Gas they were frank: “North Sea Gas supplies are running out” (http://t.co/L8iwnwOM).

In fact it has been a very long and news-packed week. On the 16th Oct the Green Alliance published a paper (http://t.co/jk248GG7) that told us that it would be economically wise to actually pay people to save energy. On the 17th October the Government had a high level meeting to discuss the way forward for its renewable energy agenda (http://t.co/wq5dpFf6). On Thursday the 18th the Chancellor of the Exchequer declared the green energy sector to be the “Environmental Taliban” (http://t.co/2W08aytv). The slur could not have been more offensive (http://t.co/cwtVzgC0) and anger boiled over onto the streets of London with a demonstration outside Government offices (http://t.co/SALNNK1j). Protesters from the growing clean energy sector donned green hard-hats in a bid to show the Treasury that low-carbon sector has generated growth and jobs. Even The Economist waded in with the headline “Not enough is being done to cut demand for electricity” (http://t.co/Qt2hg9zr). One thing is clear: change is inevitable. Energy efficiency and local renewable energy, in the long term, will ease fuel poverty.

But this is a slow-boil revolution. The fact that it is happening too slowly is hitting people hard. Government has been slow and stuttering in its response. There is no magic bullet and no miracle will occur. We cannot wait for THEM to bail us out. Their fixes will take a very long time to bear fruit. It comes down to US and Civic Society to do something TODAY about our energy futures.  So let us help you this winter. Come and visit Citizens Advice Bureau and partners at BIG Energy Saving Week outside Wycombe central Library in the Eden Centre on Monday 22nd October from 10am. We have so much to talk about.

About post-carbon-man

A passionate advocate of a peaceful transition to a sustainable political-economy, Mark hails from a working class farming background. Today he is a Company Director and Chairman of the Low Carbon Chilterns Co-operative. Whilst at University (Engineering Masters) he was active in Conservative Student politics but has had no affiliation since. He has travelled widely on business covering the USA, Europe, Middle East and Central Asian Republics. In 2007 Mark founded Post-Carbon-Living and a year later co-founded Transition Town High Wycombe. He lives with is wife & daughter in a home they retrofitted to be carbon-neutral. Today he blogs about surviving politics on a shrinking planet and is passionate in his rejection of Nationalism.

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