Why the PM’s plan for energy bills is an 'expensive sticking plaster' for 38,000 Northamptonshire homes
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Campaign groups are warning the Prime Minister’s new energy plan will not help more than half of homes in Northamptonshire which have poor energy efficiency ratings.
Liz Truss announced that average energy bills will be capped at no more than £2,500 a year for the next two years as part of a package aimed at tackling the cost-of-living crisis.
Yet the End Fuel Poverty Coalition says the measures will be an “expensive sticking plaster” without longer-term investment in energy efficiency.
Analysis of latest energy efficiency ratings by the Office of National Statistics shows 55 percent of houses had a ranking of D or below in March 2021 and are likely to be feel the biggest impact from rising energy bills.
Energy Performance Certificates show how effective a home is at keeping heat in with ratings from A — the most efficient — down to G where residents have to spend most on energy bills to keep their homes warm.
The End Fuel Poverty Coalition estimates that 6.9 million households across the UK will suffer fuel poverty this winter, even after the new price guarantee – including around 5.3 million households in England.
Latest Government estimates showed around 3.2 million English households in fuel poverty in 2020 – including more than 38,000 in Northamptonshire.
Of those, 19,857 were in West Northamptonshire and 18,314 in North Northamptonshire.
Separate figures from charity Friends of the Earth show, as of August, 17 percent of dwellings in West Northamptonshire did not have their lofts insulated, and 11 percent were without cavity wall insulation – equivalent to 30,300 and 19,700 homes respectively.
In North Northamptonshire, 16 percent were without loft insulation and 10 percent had no cavity wall insulation – equivalent to 23,900 and 15,900 homes respectively.
Adam Scorer, chief executive of fuel poverty charity National Energy Action, called the PM's announcement “good news” but warned more must done for those most in need.
“The new Government must not forget that the most vulnerable need targeted support," he said.
“Those who use more energy in their homes because of medical conditions, those who are elderly and those on very low incomes need extra help, so they don’t have to ration their usage, putting their physical and mental health at risk.”
The energy price guarantee limits the amount households can be charged per unit of gas or electricity, although your exact bill still depends on how much energy you actually use.The current price cap is £1,971 a year at typical use, and was due to rise to £3,549 a year (and likely £5,400 a year in January). It was £1,277 a year last winter.
Ms Truss’ announcement means the most someone on typical use will be charged is £2,500 a year.
The Prime Minister said it was a “moment to be bold”.
Ms Truss added: “We are facing a global energy crisis and there are no cost-free options.”
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng is set to provide more details in an announcement later this month.