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HA: Tackling fuel poverty is top priority

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HA: Tackling fuel poverty is top priority

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Environment and also in Communities, Finance, Housing

HA: Tackling fuel poverty is top priority HA: Tackling fuel poverty is top priority

A Somerset-based housing association has said that helping its tenants out of fuel poverty is its top priority.

Yarlington Housing Group (YHG) has taken the stance following the June release of the Department of Energy & Climate Change's Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics Report, which projected that the number of households in fuel poverty is likely to increase from 2.28 million as reported in 2012, to 2.33 million in 2014, due to the increase in energy costs.

To tackle the issue, YHG has appointed two new energy efficiency champions to advise and support tenants through fuel poverty, and sent eight staff members on a three-day course and where they passed an exam achieving a City & Guilds Level 3 Award in Energy Awareness.

The nationally recognised qualification has given the staff the knowledge to be able to help residents with a range of issues, from how to efficiently use heating and hot water systems, understand fuel bills and identify measures to improve home energy efficiency.

YHG's sustainability manager Julian Scott said: "Tackling fuel poverty is a priority for Yarlington and we will work tirelessly to eradicate it within our communities and protect vulnerable tenants, as set out in the 20 Pledges Yarlington aims to deliver by 2020.

"Fuel poverty can lead to negative consequences for families or individuals as many have to make the choice between heating or eating. By training our staff in energy awareness, appointing Energy Efficiency Champions and as members of National Energy Action (NEA) we are determined to make a positive difference."

Lesley Leighton, energy efficiency champion, added: "The initial outcomes as a result of our visits have been really exciting and encouraging. I’ve helped one tenant save £22 a month on energy bills by switching suppliers, and after fitting an electricity monitor at one home encouraged the tenants child, that never turned the TV off, to take charge of monitoring how much electricity her TV was using - as a result she now understands the importance of turning it off.

"All these steps help to reduce costs for our residents and ensure they don’t fall into debt, and can instead save a few extra pennies or pounds."

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