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Half of social housing tenants forced to choose between food and fuel

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Half of social housing tenants forced to choose between food and fuel

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

Rachel Booth Rachel Booth

Half of a social landlord's tenants think their energy bills are too high, with some even choosing between paying bills and buying food.

That’s the result of a survey Warwickshire Rural Housing Association took of its households.

The study was carried out as part of a partnership between WRHA and De Montfort University aimed at monitoring how the housing provider's tenants use energy and help them reduce bills by making small changes to the way they live.

One of the tenants who signed up for the study, Rachel Booth of Shipston (pictured), said: “When we moved in three years ago we set our heating to the winter setting and our electricity bill was over £1,000. We have adjusted the settings and our bills are lower now, but we struggle to get the house warm some days.

“I got involved with the study to help me make the most of the heating system I’ve got and to minimise my bills.”

Andy Stephenson, who is managing the project for De-Montfort University, explained: “We will install monitors in 20 homes which will measure tenants’ energy consumption, the temperature within the property and the humidity levels. These monitors will allow us to see how and when they use energy and how it affects the building.

“We will then be able to show tenants how they could save money, including changing their behaviour and making more effective use of their existing heating system to maximise its potential. The monitoring will allow the residents and ourselves to evaluate the effectiveness of different approaches.”

“Tenants will be invited to join a forum to share information and also help pass on what they have learnt to other WRHA tenants.”

WRHA's company secretary, Craig Felts, added: “We are concerned about the impact of fuel price rises on our tenants and we want to support tenants to save energy and therefore money where possible. That’s the reason we are working with De-Montfort University to monitor fuel usage and to provide advice and guidance to tenants to help minimise fuel bills.”

“We also hope that the data from the project will help us make some longer term decisions about which heating systems to install in our properties.”

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