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Welcome for help to cut home energy bills
A NEW ‘green deal’ for Worcester has been welcomed by a city politician who says too many households are being crippled by high heating bills.
Councillor Neil Laurenson, from the Green Party, says a multi-million pound deal with a private company to offer residents better insulation will help those most in need.
As your Worcester News revealed in September, Carillion is planning to go into homes and offer means-tested help towards making them more energy efficient.
People on certain benefits can get the improvements done for nothing via a grant, while those in work will get a quote for any improvements.
Coun Laurenson agreed to prop up a new Labour-Lib Dem administration back in May, dumping the Conservatives from power for the first time since 2000, in return for green policies.
He said: “Energy bills are one of the biggest issues for people at the moment, so this is great news for the city.
“I’m very pleased about it because from a Green perspective, we are doing what we set out to do.
“If we weren’t here in the first place we wouldn’t have been able to put it on the table.
“We would also want the council to look into extra government grants because it’s so important, we still want to do that.”
Carillion will be promoted as the city’s official Energy Obligation Provider in a deal which runs until 2020. It is primarily aimed at those most in need, but Carillion will be able to expand the project to residents with the means to pay.
The scheme will also see loans made available to residents which must be paid back with interest.
The Government has placed an obligation on the UK’s seven biggest energy companies to contribute to a national grant funding pot, which will go towards helping tenants without the means to pay.
Typical work includes boiler replacements, solid wall insulation or loft upgrades to keep in the heat.
Nineteen per cent of Worcestershire homes are in fuel poverty – meaning that they spend more than 10 per cent of their income on gas and electricity.
At last month’s Labour conference, party leader Ed Miliband revealed a proposal to freeze energy prices until the start of 2017 if he wins the next general election.
He said he was “absolutely confident the big companies can stomach” a freeze on bills.