Autumn is about to set in and this will mean that many of us will be switching on our heating systems for the first time probably since about April. However, the big difference between now and then is that Londoners will be heating their homes in the face of record energy price hikes. The reason for this is that the big 6 energy companies have all announced average prices rises for this coming winter of up to 18 per cent. This will drive many London households into fuel poverty for the first time when we already have 1 in 4 households there already.
So what can be done? Well better energy efficiency for our homes is a good start, which is why we welcomed the Mayor’s home energy efficiency programme “RE:NEW” designed to make it easier for London householders to improve the energy efficiency of their homes through retrofitting their homes. It started with the lofty target of 200,000 homes to be treated during this Mayoralty. This figure has since been revised down to 55,000 with only 10,678 homes actually having been retrofitted to date. When you consider this in the context of 3.3 million homes in London and the fact that London is the region which gets the least assistance from the energy companies through their energy efficiency drives, then it builds a picture of how far we actually are from helping Londoners keep warm despite nearing the end of this Mayoralty term. So to get through autumn and winter, Londoners will have to take matters into their own hands and insulate their loft, walls and windows themselves which will reap benefits in the form of lower energy bills. This has always been the low-lying fruit option in terms of optimising a household’s energy use and is at least something that we can try and sort out for ourselves. In the meantime, it may also be an idea to hope for a mild winter.