Warmer Homes for Londoners
Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy
More and more Londoners are struggling to heat their homes. That’s why today, we’re launching phase two of Warmer Homes, the Mayor’s programme to help address fuel poverty and tackle the climate emergency.
Fuel poverty in London
There are now almost 400,000 London households in fuel poverty – the highest number since records began. It happens when a household’s income is not enough to cover the cost of heating and powering the home. In some cases, it’s even costing lives. In an average winter some 3,200 Londoners die compared to the average number of deaths over the rest of the year. Of these deaths, almost 1,000 are due to cold and damp homes.
The borough of Newham in London has the highest level of fuel poverty in England. Our city is home to seven of the 30 most-affected areas in the country.
Reasons include the high costs of housing in London and the fact that our housing stock is particularly hard to treat:
- Solid wall: Six out of ten London homes are solid wall. These homes are harder to keep warm.
- Flats: Fifty per cent of London’s homes are flats – over three times the average in England.
- Conservation Areas: London has half of England’s total. This can make it hard to install energy efficiency measures like modern windows.
- Private rented sector: some 28 per cent of London homes are privately rented, compared with 18 per cent across England. This type of housing is typically the least energy efficient.
These challenges are worsened by the fact London has historically not had its fair share of funding from various national programmes. In 2018/19 London only received 3.5% of energy efficiency works carried out through the national Energy Company Obligation (ECO) despite having 13% of the country’s population.
Fighting the causes of fuel poverty
There are lots of inter-linked reasons that can cause a household to be in fuel poverty. We’re working hard to address all of them:
1. Helping cut energy demand and carbon emissions: Cold, damp homes need to be more energy efficient. Our Warmer Homes programme takes the ‘whole-house’ approach so homes are better insulated and require less energy to heat, like new heating systems and insulation. Our new Retrofit Accelerator – Homes scheme works with boroughs and housing associations to transform ageing social housing into create warm, ultra low carbon homes that are affordable to heat.
2. Enabling households to maximise their income: our Warmer Homes Advice Service offers advice and support to people in fuel poverty helping them to access energy bill discounts and address fuel debts.
3. Making energy more affordable: people can now switch to London Power, our new, fair-priced, green energy company, available only to Londoners. It’s estimated that switching to London Power could save a typical household around £325 a year.* Customers on pre-payment meters could save around £160 per year.**
How Warmer Homes can help
Whether you own or rent privately, eligible fuel poor households can get up to £4,000 funding to improve their home’s energy efficiency. The worst performing homes can also have damp and mould problems, and poor air quality inside. To address this, Warmer Homes will for example install ventilation alongside insulation. Each resident has a Retrofit Co-ordinator who’ll go through the process with you from start to finish, and ensure we do a great job.
London needs more support from government too
We’re doing our best, but we need central government to do their bit too. We need support to enforce regulations, improve standards and help our vulnerable residents. That’s why we continue to lobby for more funding so London gets its fair share. That is the only way, the Mayor can deliver warm and affordable homes for every Londoner who needs one and help tackle the climate emergency.
And find out more about our work to make London a zero carbon city.
*Saving of around £325 per year is based on a typical, dual fuel customer paying by direct debit, using Ofgem average consumption figures. This saving is in comparison to the average big six standard variable tariff. Saving correct as of 10/03/2020.
** Saving of around £160 per year is based on a typical dual fuel customer with a prepayment meter, using Ofgem average consumption figures. This saving is in comparison to the prepayment meter price cap. Saving correct as of 10/03/2020.