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Community Council of Devon launch new energy efficiency guides

PUBLISHED: 13:10 01 November 2013

Exeter in the snow

Exeter in the snow

Archant

Two free, practical guides to help rural communities keep warm and cut bills this winter are now available from Community Council of Devon.

The Energy Efficiency and Affordable Warmth community guides have been produced by Community Council of Devon’s national body, Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), in partnership with Calor Gas.

The Energy Efficiency guide explains how families can make simple changes at home – such as insulation, draught-proofing, and low energy lightbulbs –to reduce bills.

It shows how volunteer ‘energy champions’ can help people in their neighbourhoods by passing on tips and pointing householders towards sources of professional advice. It also explains how eligible households may be able to get help with improvements to their homes, such as boilers or loft insulation, through Government initiatives such as Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation.

The Affordable Warmth guide focuses on how communities can help households to stay warm and avoid falling into fuel poverty. It explains how the most vulnerable households can get help from the Government towards their heating bills.

It includes case studies of work carried out by members of the ACRE’s national Network of rural community councils, such as bulk oil buying schemes.

Community Council of Devon’s Chief Executive, Elaine Cook, said: “With winter fast approaching, many families will be thinking about how they can cut their energy bills. These guides are a good place to start, with plenty of advice and ideas.

“Evidence shows that rural households are twice as likely as their urban counterparts to struggle to afford to heat their homes, due to lower than average incomes and houses that are less energy efficient.

“Lack of access to cheaper fuel supplies is also a problem - 36pc of homes in rural areas are off the gas grid, so many households rely on fuels such as oil, electric heating, LPG or coal.

“Tackling fuel poverty is important because the impact of cold homes on people’s health and wellbeing is significant. Many households are faced with a ‘heat or eat’ crisis where they are forced to choose between putting the heating on to get warm or buying food.

“Community Council of Devon is experienced at working with communities to help them stay warm and use energy more efficiently. We run the Devon Oil Collective, a bulk buying heating oil consortium designed to drive down oil costs for consumers. We have also run several advice and information sessions across the county advising people on ways to cut their energy costs.

“Anyone who wants advice can download the guides or approach us for help.”

The guides are available for free download at http://www.devonrcc.org.uk/documents/category/153/energy-fuel-poverty

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