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MEP calls on energy companies to take action on energy savings

Politics / Wed 2nd Apr 2014 at 09:47am

THE national investigation into how big energy companies are behaving needs to look deeper than energy prices. It should also review what companies are doing to help householders save energy. This was one of the main conclusions from a round table on rural energy issues hosted by East Anglian MEP Vicky Ford at the Cambridge SmartLIFE Centre on Friday.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Energy Savings Trust, energy system installers, local experts who have been setting up energy savings projects in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk and Cllr Mathew Shuter, Cabinet member for Skills, Enterprise, Energy and Waste at Cambridgeshire County Council. It was sponsored by Calor Gas as part of a pan European campaign to look at energy issues affecting rural communities.

The attendees heard how programs run by some of the larger energy companies, which are intended to help households install energy savings measures, can in reality be too bureaucratic or fail to offer the best advice. They also learnt how difficult it is for consumers to compare the benefits of different types of energy efficiency measures available to them. This is especially important for rural households who often do not have access to mains gas, are more reliant on domestic heating oil and therefore have arguably the most to benefit from alternative energy systems.

Vicky Ford MEP was one of the lead negotiators on recent EU rules on energy efficiency where energy companies are now required to deliver a 1.5% energy saving every year amongst their customers.

Mrs Ford said “It is extremely important that householders are given proper information on how best to save energy and that energy companies help to pay for the investment. The UK pushed for this obligation scheme to be written into EU law and it is disappointing that some of our larger energy suppliers appear to be trying to avoid their energy savings obligations. I will be writing to the Minister to ask him to include this in the independent investigation of how energy companies behave in Britain. These companies need to be helping all energy consumers, not just those in urban areas where the savings are easier to come-by.”

The round table identified the need to help local communities by offering them expert advice especially on how to improve the energy efficiency on public buildings such as village halls and sports pavilions. Cllr Shuter also pointed to the need to make sure skilled experts are available for ongoing maintenance.

He said “Cambridgeshire County Council is helping unlock energy savings advice for public buildings through our Mobilising Local Energy Investment project. Energy companies should be made to deliver on their commitments to help householders too.”

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