Take action against fuel poverty deaths and welfare cuts – 25th Nov

If we can’t heat our homes, we have a right to warm up in any public building – including Parliament.  We have a right to express our sadness, anger and solidarity with those who have suffered or are suffering. 
On Wednesday 25th November, we will find out how many thousands of people died last winter because they couldn’t afford to heat their homes.   Join Fuel Poverty Action and Lambeth Pensioners Action Group (LAMPAG) to take action in parliament to show support for those who have died.  Come inside to WARM UP, and speak out to MPs, demanding an end to the unacceptable death and misery caused by fuel poverty! No more deaths from fuel poverty: Reverse all cuts to vital services, social housing, insulation and welfare!


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Warm Homes Discount 2015/2016- How to get £140 off your electricity bill

The Warm Homes Discount has been extended for another year- which means there is another opportunity this winter to get £140 off your electricity bill.
You should automatically get the Discount if qualify for the discount if on 12 July 2015 your electricity supplier was part of the scheme AND you were getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well).
If you don’t automatically qualify but you’re on a low income and/or you get certain means-tested benefits you may be entitled to the Discount. It’s worth checking with your supplier to see if you’re eligible and how to apply.
Scroll down to find your supplier- and note that the numbers of discounts given out are *limited* so it’s worth applying sooner rather than later, as they do ‘run out.’

If you are a customer at a smaller supplier, see if your supplier is signed up to the scheme here and follow the link through to their page to see if you are eligible.
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Social landlords lock tenants into energy companies and fuel poverty

Fuel Poverty Action has been contacted by a number of tenants from social housing estates across London who told us that they are unable to switch their energy suppliers for heating and hot water  because their social landlord has ‘locked’ them in to buying from one supplier. In one case, residents of Myatts Field North estate have been locked in to buying their heating and hot water from e.on for 40 years under a Private Finance Initiative contract agreed by Lambeth council.
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What are YOU doing for Earth Day, Wednesday 22 April?

Axe drax at climate marchGuest Blog by Duncan Law, Biofuel Watch 
Join Biofuel Watch in London, 11.00-13.00, the Grocer’s Hall, Princes St, EC2R 8AD, at #AXEDRAX, for a lively protest to expose and oppose burning biomass and coal..
Drax power station is the largest coal-fired power station and single biggest carbon emitter in the UK, and is now also the biggest biomass power station in the world. In return for trashing forests and digging up communities, Drax is receiving massive subsidies when it should have been closed down years ago.
For forests, communities and the climate, it’s time to #axedrax!
#AXEDRAX will unite Coal and Biomass campaigners with others who believe that UK energy policy is stupid and unjust.
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Join us for an energy rights workshop at Focus E15 mums' Real Estates project

Focus E15 mums at the Carpenters Estate, Stratford
Spent the winter suffering from your cold home? Worried about the next energy bill that’s due? Want to learn how to deal with energy companies so that you can help yourself and others?
Most of us have spent the winter hidden under piles of blankets in our homes because we can’t afford to heat them properly. Cold homes make us ill and cause misery. They even cause death: each winter thousands of pensioners die from cold homes. We’ve had enough of the rip-off Big Six energy companies and exploitative landlords profiteering from our suffering.
Join Fuel Poverty Action at the Focus E15 mums takeover at ‘Real Estates’ project at PEER Gallery Hoxton. Our energy rights workshop is on Wednesday 18th at 2pm, Peer Gallery, 97 & 99 Hoxton Street, N1 6QL, our friends the wonderful women at Skills Network have a great-looking workshop after us ‘Intentional Peer Support for the Housing Crisis’ so come down for the whole afternoon if you can! We’ll look at the energy problems we’re facing and what we can do about it and share information on our basic energy rights, including dealing with debt and problems with prepayment meters. Come along and learn your rights and help us plan collective action for warm, healthy homes for all!
Please join and share our facebook event. Hope to see you there!

DYING4HEAT IV: Unacceptable, accepted murder

Photo from Daniel Ashman

Guest Blog By Dan Ashman
The simple fact is some people are wilfully preventing access to warmth, an essential for survival. The disregard to the sanctity of life of our fellow community members, of which last year, 7000; grandmas, grandads, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, sons and daughters were murdered for record high profit margins to serve the one percent. That is why Dying4Heat took place on Fleet Street in the City of London. It’s what I like to call unacceptable accepted murder.
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Fuel Poverty Action February News

Fuel Poverty Action pay a visit to Ofgem
Fuel Poverty Action pay a visit to Ofgem

Winter is always a busy time of year for Fuel Poverty Action. This February has been particularly hectic. Here’s a brief look at some of the things we’ve been up to and how you can get involved.
In the same week that it was announced that 3,000 people could die that week from cold homes, so-called energy regulator Ofgem suggested that people take packed lunches into work so as to save money to pay their rip-off energy bills. In a couple of hours we organised a pack-lunch protest to express our outrage that Ofgem is more interested in regulating our lunches than the Big Six energy companies. See coverage of our action on Russia Today and by Global Justice Now.
There was also action on fuel poverty in Kirklees that week with a ‘warm up theatre stunt’ in Huddersfield where they also handed out copies of our Energy Bill of Rights.
This month we’ve got two new blog posts on our website looking at some of the support and solidarity work that we do with people directly affected by fuel poverty. One is from an English for Speakers of Other Languages teacher at Tower Hamlets college describing how she is covering fuel poverty in her classes. Our second blog post is a victory we have helped secure on behalf of a pensioner couple being harrassed for years by Britsh Gas. This victory shows that we can have concrete and significant wins when we help each other out. If you’d like to get involved in supporting each other in taking on the Big Six energy companies and dodgy landlords who leave us to freeze, get in touch and visit our resources page here.
Thanks to the latest groups to sign up to our Energy Bill of Rights, including our first union – BECTURead our Energy Bill of Rights here and take a look at the impressive and diverse list of groups who support it.
Upcoming actions
This week is the Radical Housing Network week of action culminating with a mass action to Block the Budget on Monday 23rd February. There have been loads of actions happening across London organised by local housing action groups – it’s difficult to keep a track of, but the RHN are attempting to here. We’re organising a ‘warm homes bloc’ on the main action on Monday. Join us there to demand warm, healthy, secure homes for all!
Wednesday 25th February is a day of Britain wide solidarity with Tony Cox, an unemployed activist arrested by the police for supporting a fellow claimant at the Job Centre. We’re supporting the statement written by our friends Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty and the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network. When dealing with the Job Centres, housing offices and the Big Six energy companies they want us isolated, alone and scared – they know that when we help each other, we can win!
Have we missed anything?! Let us know what action against fuel poverty you’re planning!

Sharing experiences of fuel poverty and energy rights with ESOL students

Photograph of a fuel poverty tree made by students looking at causes (branches) and solutions (fruits) to fuel poverty
Guest blog post from Rebecca, an English for Speakers of Other Languauges (ESOL) teacher at Tower Hamlets College, about the work her class have been doing on fuel poverty.
Fuel Poverty Action works with those affected by fuel poverty to provide support, information and resources, and plan collective action. If you’d like us to visit your group, please get in touch fuelpovertyaction[at]gmail.com.
I heard that another ESOL teacher was doing some work with the Fuel Poverty Action campaign and was interested in right away, because this issue definitely affects our adult students, who find that all other problems are made worse by difficulty in speaking English.
Also I thought it might be a topic where we might actually be able to make an impact. ESOL classes quite often look at big and serious topics like housing, benefits and immigration, since these all affect students’ lives, but it’s often hard to take action that might make a real difference.
Following suggestions from Dermot at English for Action, we began by brainstorming the causes and consequences of Fuel Poverty. We put these onto a ‘problem tree’ and used it to make sentences. Because we had done a lot of speaking (the students had plenty to say on the topic) it was easy for the students to read a simplified version of the Energy Rights’ leaflet.
Next we had a visit from Izzy who talked us through the issues and answered some questions that the students had. We made some questions for Izzy on topics like key meters, negotiating bills, and legal rights.
We then started looking at solutions to the problem and considered what actions we could do as individuals and as a group.

  • We told each other our problems and experiences of dealing with energy companies. A lot of people were able to share tips that were helpful right away.
  • We role-played different conversations that we might have when phoning companies – this is incredibly hard for many language learners.
  • We wrote to our MPs asking them to sign Early Day Motion 395. Some people have had long replies from the MPs which we will read in class at some point. The letters back were friendly and had useful information, but I notice that neither of our MPs have signed the EDM.
  • Another teacher in the college began to work on the subject, and produced a great listening activity all about standing up to the ‘Big Six’ bullies. We now have a ‘Fuel Poverty Action’ folder on our computer where we can compile any resources we find or make.
  • One student is being supported by Izzy in dealing with her bills. We will see what comes of this and share what she has learned with the group.
  • We will continue with the topic as time allows, and hope to be able to deliver short presentations on the topic to other ESOL classes in the college.
  • We continue to feedback any progress or even when we notice something to do with fuel poverty or energy prices in the news.

Thanks Izzy and Fuel Poverty Action for all the support!

Water struggles: the battle for basic utilities is on and we have a lot to learn

Yesterday, in Dublin, thousands of people took to the streets, as they have done several times over the last couple of months.  Why? In the words of what has become a viral youtube hit, “No Water Privitisation! Irish Water’s Not for Sale!”
How and why have struggles relating to water access — and basic utilities including energy — become so key in 2014?
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