In a post last week we looked at cutting energy costs for the poorest. I was slightly despairing at the lack of any organised government action since that’s where its got to come from with this level of need. (That is not to say that it is not going to be private companies organising and doing the work.) In the last week two things have happened. The first is the government has somehow levered in some private cash to stick solar PV on 800,000 homes of social housing tenants in England and Wales over the next years. This will lead to electricity savings of £250 at no cost to the householders. A significant saving.
The second is a report looking at the success and potential of energy efficiency at cutting energy costs. This report reckons that up to 2015 savings on average have been about £500, i.e. without these measures bills would on average be this much higher. Gas use has fallen 27% since 2004 and electricity by 13%. A further 25% could be cut easily and a further 25% less easily with much more expensive measures such as heat pumps or solid wall insulation. We just need a better way of cutting energy costs than the green deal which was too complicated and involved borrowing money at interest rates that were too high. We are just left with the large energy company schemes which are better than nothing. The government has said its coming up with a replacement since it was scrapped two years ago but nothing has happened. The potential is there to cut energy costs and in particular protect the poorest, cut carbon and improve our energy security. We just need a strategy to get on with it.