Sunday, 09 November 2014 23:10

Energy scheme 'neglects rural homes'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Energy scheme 'neglects rural homes'

RURAL households which helped fund a government energy efficiency scheme received nothing back, it has emerged.

Some 1.7m rural households forked out more than £40 each for the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) but received nothing in return, suggests new analysis.

The affected households are not connected to the mains gas grid and instead rely on electricity or fuel oil for their heating.

Each has paid an estimated £42 in levies on their electricity bills over the last two years to fund the ECO scheme, which requires suppliers to install energy efficiency measures in homes.

Together, the 1.7m rural households contributed more than £70m to the scheme. But measures installed to help these households are said to be worth just £3.5m.

The ECO has helped as few as 1,500 such rural households, according to analysis by Calor Gas – with the remainder of the 1.7m households receiving nothing.

This means rural households are collectively contributing twenty times more than they get back, reported the Daily Telegraph on Saturday (8 November)

And for 500,000 of these households, which have higher electricity bills because they use electricity for their heating, the contribution is likely to be much more than £42.

Calor head of strategy Paul Blacklock said: "The energy companies are 'cherry-picking' those easiest to reach – namely towns and city dwellers who are on the gas grid.

"This leaves rural families at a huge disadvantage due to the extra costs involved.

"ECO is just the latest in a long line of schemes that have failed to help rural households living off the off gas grid, particularly the poorest."

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said changes to the ECO scheme in April this year had resulted in significantly increased levels of help for rural homes.

Energy suppliers had now met nearly half of sub-targets for helping rural homes, said the DECC.

Calor is a sponsor of Rural Services Network, and sponsors the Rural Services Network Vulnerability Service covering issues relating to rural fuel poverty, rural broadband and rural transport.

  • No comments found

Leave your comments

0 / 500 Character restriction
Your text should be in between 10-500 characters
terms and condition.