8 December, 2020

Thanet residents urged to embrace energy efficiency and bring bills down this winter

This winter, Thanet District Council is on a mission to help its residents stay warm and save money. Winter fuel bills have risen over the last few years and while we can’t do anything about the weather there are lots of ways to reduce the cost of heating.

Various schemes and grants are available that could help people save more than £200 on energy bills each year and reduce their annual carbon footprint by up to 700kg of CO2.1

Thanet District Council is promoting the Green Homes Grant, the Warm Homes Scheme and offering its own advice service, all of which are designed to ensure that more people are living in homes that are energy efficient, and warm.

  • The Green Homes Grant offers up to £5,000 towards energy efficient and low-carbon heating improvements to the home. This sum rises to £10,000 for low-income households who own their own property.
  • The Warm Homes Scheme is aimed specifically at people who are on a low income and have energy bills they can’t afford or have specific health conditions. 

The schemes could help homeowners and tenants to install a range of improvements including:

  • Cavity or solid wall insulation
  • Loft insulation
  • Underfloor insulation
  • Loft and flat roof insulation
  • Air source heat pumps
  • Solar hot water
  • Biomass pellet boilers
  • Windows and doors and heating controls (in some circumstances)

Some households on a low income, with certain eligibility can also get connected to the gas network and central heating if they are not connected to the gas network.

Thanet District Council has a dedicated service for people to find out what help is available by contacting energysaving@thanet.gov.uk or calling the Home Energy Officer on 07920 784779.

Private landlords are prohibited from renting out homes that are subject to an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and have an energy efficiency rating of F or G. Where a landlord does not improve the rating of a property there are now financial penalties. At a recent meeting, Cabinet agreed that the council has a statutory duty to enforce the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015. This could see landlords fined up to £5,000 per property.

Cllr Helen Whitehead, Cabinet Member for Housing and Neighbourhoods said: 

“The onset of winter can be worrying for some as we start to think about how to balance staying warm enough at home with keeping the bills down. There is an intrinsic link between improving the energy efficiency of the home and lowering the cost of energy bills.

“There are lots of different ways that homeowners, renters and landlords can benefit, simply by applying for support to upgrade their property. There are grants available for insulation, updated heating systems and renewable energy installation, all of which could bring down the cost of keeping warm. 

“We know that there are a number of rented properties in the area with a low EPC rating. Landlords aren’t allowed to let homes rated F or G, and we will take action against them to ensure private tenants are protected.

“Lots of people are experiencing financial hardship because of job losses and income reduction due to COVID-19. We know that this will be the first time some people will have claimed benefits and they may not realise that they’re eligible for help. I’d urge everyone to look into the options. There is money available for those on the lowest incomes or those who are vulnerable to living in a cold home.”

These schemes are designed to help people save energy and reduce their fuel bills. As part of its response to the declaration of a Climate Emergency, Thanet District Council has appointed a dedicated Home Energy Officer who is developing more initiatives to support reducing carbon emissions in housing and also provide affordable warmth.

Anyone who is struggling to afford their energy bills may be able to take advantage of certain benefits, grants and help offered by the Government and energy suppliers. More information is available at thanet.gov.uk/energyinthehome 

The council has made a pledge to have net zero carbon emissions by 2050 with significant progress to be made in the next 10 years. 

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