The steep rise in energy costs from the start of April plunged many more of us into fuel poverty. At a time when other living costs have also increased, nearly everyone is trying to reduce their energy consumption, We know not to leave appliances on standby, to avoid wasting energy/money. We know to switch off the lights if we’re leaving a room for longer than five minutes. But we’re still searching for ways to reduce energy consumption and spend less.
To do that, it helps to know where we’re spending most. According to Utilita, a pay-as-you-go energy provider, the cost of running each of 30 electrical items for one hour is
1. electric shower: £1.66
2. heating the average house (67.7 sq m) in which 1 kw heats av. 10 sq m: 92p
3. electric heater: 65p
4. fan assisted oven: 46p
5. kettle: 43p
6. hairdryer: 41p
7. tumble dryer: 37p
8. dishwasher: 37p
9. toaster: 22p
10. iron: 19p
11. coffee machine: 15p
12. microwave: 15p
13. vacuum cleaner: 13p
14. food processor: 6p
15. desktop computer: 4p
16. fridge freezer: 4p
17. slow cooker: 3p
18. Playstation: 2p
19. X-box: 2p
20. old-style incandescent lightbulb: 2p
21. laptop: 1p
22. heated towel rail: 1p
23. ceiling fan: 1p
24. pedestal fan: 1p
25. television: 0.7p
26. hair straighteners: 0.5p
27. Electric shaver: 0.3p
28. games console on standby: 0.2p
29. LED lightbulb: 0.1p
30. mobile phone charger: 0.1p
All of the ‘big five’ energy suppliers, as well as some others, have schemes and charitable trusts to help meet your energy costs. If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be awarded a grant to help pay it off. There are also some grants available to you if you are disabled or living with chronic illness. Support varies so for current information about how they might help you, please telephone your energy supplier.
Local councils offer all sorts of resident support schemes to help meet energy bills. What’s on offer varies from borough to borough. A web search using the name of your borough plus “help with energy bills” should bring up all the relevant results.
REGISTER BEFORE 14 APRIL TO VOTE ON 5 MAY
As well as offering help with energy bills, local government — the council— has significant powers in relation to the private rented sector. All councils employ environmental health officers who can inspect, assess disrepair and enforce against landlords renting out out unsafe homes. Trading standards officers, who have oversight of letting agents’ practices, are also local government officers. Councils also run property licensing schemes.
Councillors are local politicians who provide a bridge between local government officers and residents. And they’re up for election in a few weeks time. Every candidate standing for election would be grateful for your vote.
To vote in these local elections, you have to register by 14 April. The deadline for applying for a postal vote is soon thereafter, 19th April. You can vote in local elections if you are
- a British citizen or
- an EU citizen (including Republic of Ireland)
- a qualifying Commonwealth citizen
- aged 18 or over on 5 May (election day).
But you can only exercise your vote if you are registered at an address in the area you want to vote in. Register to vote
COMMUNITY-LED RECOVERY PLAN: JUST SPACE
The work of councillors affects our housing in many ways. For that reason, groups engaged with the issues at local level have been working to secure commitments to represent renters’ interests.
As part of the Just Space coalition, Renters’ Rights London contributed to development of the Community-Led Recovery Plan. As the name implies, the Just Space coalition calls for justice in the planning of our city.
The ‘London system’ of securing social housing and infrastructure out of developer profits has failed to deliver. The backlog of unmet housing need is steadily worsening. This Plan poses a challenge to the continued domination of planning process by the interests of property developers.
We want the future to be different from the past. We want London to be ‘a caring city’ of Lifetime Neighbourhoods. Conscious that systemic inequalities need to be addressed through resourcing more diverse structures at the grassroots, the Recovery Plan outlines how local councils should enable and support community approaches to the local economy.
If you would like a hard copy or copies of the Just Space Community-Led Recovery Plan, just ask. If you have any comments or would like to get involved in the next stages of the Community-Led Recovery Plan, get in touch with Richard Lee (and do please copy in , if you will).
ACTION ON EMPTY HOMES
Although Will McMahon keeps getting our name wrong, Renters’ Rights London still strongly supports the Campaign for Action on Empty Homes (CAEH). Because there are over 100,000 families are living in temporary accommodation and over half a million homes lie empty as second homes, short lets, or simply have no permanent resident.
Like Just Space, the CAEH sees that too much of the wrong type of housing is being built, not just around London but nationwide. Fair redevelopment to prioritise low-cost homes and provision of an adequate number of council houses to meet real need is just one of their demands.
In the run-up to t you have access to a printer, please consider having a copy ready to give the representatives of whichever Party might knock on your door between now and 5th May.
Read/print the Campaign on Empty Homes Local Election Manifesto
Add your name in support of this campaign