Fuel Poverty Awareness Day: Working to End Fuel Poverty in Wales

There are 155,000 households in Wales living in fuel poverty right now, and older people are most at risk. That’s why Care & Repair are joining Fuel Poverty Awareness Day (December 3rd) and working hard to end fuel poverty in Wales.

No older person’s life should be at risk at winter because they struggle to heat their home - yet older people are amongst those at greatest risk from cold and damp related respiratory, circulatory, and cardiovascular diseases. Arthritis and increased risk of falls are also associated with colder homes.

At Care & Repair, we know that fuel poverty is more complicated than just struggling to pay your heating bill. Everyday Care & Repair see older people living in cold, damp, leaky and unsafe homes.

70+ Cymru

We are working to end fuel poverty in Wales. 70+ Cymru is here to help people aged 60+ in Wales to heat their homes to 70oF (20C). The programme employs seven Home Energy Officers who work with homeowners and those living in the private rented sector. Our teamwork with people to find ways to stay warm throughout the year. We can help challenge high fuel bills; we can help with heating repairs; we can help people to be more energy efficient. If people in the private housing sector are struggling to pay energy bills or cannot afford to take steps to stay warm at home, we will try to access funding to contribute towards essential warmth costs. There are lots of measures 70+ Cymru can help with. For example:  Home Energy Officers can help to counter draughts, to source thermostatic radiator valves, radiator foils, and even loft insulation.

Sometimes our clients are looking for ways to change their heating system - maybe they need to move away from solid fuel onto something less physically demanding, or perhaps they are considering changing to a greener more sustainable way of heating their homes. Our Home Energy Officers can explore and advise current options.

New Boiler Makes the ‘World of Difference’

Caroline contacted her Care & Repair Agency in April 2021 for help with general household repairs. Following an initial visit, our caseworker noticed that Caroline had a faulty boiler and was very cold at home and referred her to our 70+ Cymru programme for specialist help.

Caroline is retired and has multiple health issues, including COPD, osteoarthritis, asthma, type 2 diabetes, and a crumbling spine. She mostly stays in her home and lives with her son who has multiple sclerosis.

Our Home Energy Officer visited Caroline at home and carried out an energy assessment to see the types of challenges Caroline was facing to heat her home and what help might be available. Our Home Energy Officer established that Caroline was on a low income with very limited savings to repair her boiler or make improvements to her heating system. Our Home Energy Officer supported Caroline to submit a successful application to Wales’ Warm Home Programme, NEST. NEST installed a new boiler and upgraded the existing radiators in the property.

Caroline and her son will be able to keep warm this winter with a new, energy efficient heating system. This will have a big, positive impact on both their health and wellbeing, as Caroline says:

“the extra heating in the bedroom which was very cold will make the world of difference. I put it on this morning to try it out and the radiators were so much warmer… thank you ever so much for sorting this”

From Awareness to Action

Wales has some of the oldest and least thermally efficient housing stock in Europe, leaving homeowners with cold and draughty homes every winter. With the continuing impact of Covid-19 and increasing energy prices, this winter will be a tough one. No one should have to choose between food or heating, or have their health put at risk because they live in a cold home. We are calling on Welsh Government to eradicate fuel poverty in Wales. We are calling on Welsh Government for greater action to tackle fuel poverty. We want a Wales with:

  • Greater parity between health, housing, and energy to create year-round cross-sector preventative action
  • Investment in a national targeted campaign to increase the take-up of Pension Credit
  • An explicit long-term plan to retrofit and de-carbonise privately owned or rented homes across Wales

 

If you or someone you know could benefit from our 70+ Cymru service, please contact [email protected]

If you are looking for more information on our Fuel Poverty policy influencing, or to get involved, please contact [email protected]