GLA Estate Regeneration Consultation – March 2017
Between December 2016 and March 2017, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan put out a Draft Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration for consultation with civil society. We wrote a response highlighting the importance of seriously considering heating and energy efficiency in regeneration and refurbishment plans, and citing multiple examples of where both have been overlooked with serious consequences.
Coal phase-out consulation – February 2017
In early 2017 the UK Government put out a consultation called “Coal generation in Great Britain: The pathway to a low carbon future”, essentially about the timeline for phasing out the use of coal for electricity production in this country. The Coal Action Network coordinated a series of responses from organisations in the UK, as well as Colombia and Russia, where much of our coal is imported from (and where the conditions of its production are incredibly poor). For our part, we emphasise the role energy efficiency must play in reducing the overall demand for electricity, rather than assuming that all coal-based capacity must be replaced by other forms of generation – an assumption that plays into the Government’s plan to see fracking take off in the UK. We also discuss how the increasing number of homes built with electric heating not only increases demand but simultaneously forces more people into fuel poverty.
City for All Londoners – December 2016
In December 2016 Sadiq Khan’s office published a “new vision for London” called A City for All Londoners. It outlines changes City Hall plans to make over Khan’s four year term. We produced a response acknowledging some of the positive commitments on energy efficiency pegged out in this document, but also raised three requirements without which fuel poverty can continue unhindered; a public energy company for London, as demanded by the Switched on London campaign; no prepayment meters installed as default in new housing (social or otherwise); and serious consideration of the role of heat networks in decarbonising heat without disadvantaging people on estates where being part of a district heating heat network is the only option: it should instead provide less expensive, cleaner, heat.
CMA Proposal on Prepayment Meter Tariffs – November 2016
In October 2016 the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced plans to impose a cap on the price of energy for prepayment meter (PPM) customers, who get a raw deal compared to often more financial secure folks paying by direct debit. A version of this came into force in April 2017, saving PPM customers about £80 on average, and we got on TV to make the point that this was wholly insufficient. We represented as much to the CMA at the time, preparing a response reaffirming the plight of PPM customers, endorsed by 17 other organisations, and including a number of testimonies submitted to us about the real life results of PPMs. We even presented it to them at their offices in Holborn, telling them “Your cap doesn’t fit” and wielding banners reminding them that “Cold Homes Kill!”. The fight continues.
Heat Network Investment Project (HNIP) Consultation – August 2016
The HNIP is being undertaken by the Heat Network Development Unit (HNDU) at DBEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) as a way to bolster the creation of new heat networks, also known as district heating systems. It includes making £300mn available in the form of grants and credit to actors interesting in building this new infrastructure. Our response argued against the assumptions in which the project is grounded (that the market is supreme and private capital should be responsible for the majority of new projects) and provided detailed evidence of how seriously poorly managed heat networks can affect peoples’ lives, based on our work with residents at the Myatts Field estates in south London. Many social housing tenants there are locked into a 40 year contract with EON, who are failing to deliver on basic aspects of the service. However, we also recognise that heat networks could be a functional means of decarbonising heat provision in the UK, which is a vital step in reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change; this is exactly why they must be done right.