The Sustainable Energy Partnership campaigns for better policies, legislation and resources to encourage the use of low and zero carbon technologies and energy efficiency to counter climate change and fuel poverty.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fuel poor to miss out on benefits of Energy Act

Due to the Government removing the definition of fuel poverty from the Energy Act, thousands of households may now not be eligible for energy efficiency improvements or social tariffs...

The Energy Bill was passed yesterday and the Commons agreed the last minute amendments made on Wednesday by the Lords. Upon closer inspection of these amendments we think that the Government may be trying to change the definition of fuel poverty.

Prior to the Lords amendments the Bill had specified that, for the purposes of the Act, the definition of fuel poverty would be the same as that contained in the Warm Homes Act 2000. Although the Warm Homes Act itself doesn’t specify 10% of income, it did require the publication of the Fuel Poverty Strategy 2001, which did use the 10% of income definition that has been used since.

But on Wednesday Government amendments were passed that remove all references to the Warm Homes Act. The Act now simply states that a person is in fuel poverty if he/she “is a member of a household living on a lower income in a home which cannot be kept warm at reasonable cost”.

Not only that, but the amendments also allow the Secretary of State by regulations to make provisions about “what is to be regarded … as a lower income, or a reasonable cost, or the circumstances in which a home is to be regarded for those purposes as being warm”.

In other words the definition of fuel poverty is being opened up again. Furthermore, the Act specifies only that the S of S may make the provisions above (rather than must). This means that, if he/she chooses not to exercise this power, then the definition in the Act of a person in fuel poverty has no real meaning.

While the definition of fuel poverty here is for the purposes of providing social tariffs, we are concerned that it leaves the door open for this new definition to be used in the future for other purposes.

It cannot be a coincidence that the Government chose to make these amendments at the last minute. With a crowded legislative timetable, it is our view that they wouldn’t have bothered if they hadn’t been “up to something”.

Monday, February 22, 2010

SEP launches new campaign: Climate Change - Sectoral Targets Campaign

We have had a busy week at SEP sending out campaign broadsheets to our thousands of supporters.

The broadsheets outline the details of our latest campaign: the Climate Change and Sectoral Targets Bill. It's the biggest campaign we've ever run, and we're going to need a lot of help to make this Bill law so if you would like to be a SEP supporter then please sign up.

This Bill calls on government to make legally binding targets regarding renewable and low-carbon energies. Without targets like these there is a significant risk that we will be unable to stop dangerous climate change, but by enshrining these in law we force Government to take action.

The campaign will take a long time, so please stay in touch to keep up to date with its progress. But for now, why not take this opportunity to read the broadsheets (page 1 & page 2) and contact your local MP asking him/her to sign EDM 851 in support of this new Bill.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sign up to help support SEP

We need your help.

SEP is a UK partnership which represents all the major environmental and fuel poverty NGOs and relevant sustainable energy trade associations.

SEP has an unrivalled track record in campaigning for resources, legislation and targets to create a sustainable energy policy in the UK. We campaign on issues such as climate change and fuel poverty as well as promoting energy efficiency and sustainable energy policies. As the Partnership is so broad, we can build really influential coalitions around our different campaigns – but we couldn’t achieve anything without our supporter network, which consists of local environmental and community groups, as well as people like you!

We are in the process of broadening our supporter base in preparation for a big new climate change campaign that we’re launching, and would therefore be delighted if you would join our supporter network. And it costs nothing!

To become a supporter of SEP all you need to do is:
Send us your name, address, and email address
to info@sustenergy.org.uk,
or to Lotte Blair, Sustainable Energy Partnership - New Supporters, Westgate House, 2a Prebened Road, London, N1 8PT

What can you expect? SEP supporters receive updates on our various campaigns (how often will depend on the campaign, but it’s normally one letter every few months). You will have an opportunity to help us with the campaign as we will ask you to write to your local MP or perhaps to a Government Minister asking for their support. We have many supporters around the UK and their letter-writing makes all the difference! Sometimes we provide a template letter which you just have to sign and pop in the post. We greatly value your campaigning ideas, so you can also help shape campaigns!

Please help us to campaign for a more sustainable future for the UK. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

SEP is proud to introduce its Green Energy Charter

The purpose of this charter is to promote green energy, and in doing so to alleviate fuel poverty and secure a diverse, viable and long-term energy supply for the UK.

By green energy we are referring to energy efficiency measures, combined heat and power plants and renewable electricity, heat and gas production.

This charter, agreed by the members of the Sustainable Energy Partnership, consists of measures that we all agree should be adopted expeditiously to promote green energy. The 10 measures are outlined below.

The Charter

1. National programme to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016, to include:

  • ending the “poor pay more” scandal whereby the poorest people, who pay by prepayment or standard credit, pay more than other consumers
  • ensuring the poor have access to affordable low carbon energy and energy efficiency measures
  • a national strategy for retrofitting social housing to improve energy and carbon standards

2. Individual home audits with detailed whole house solutions by 2013

3. Private landlords to be responsible for energy efficiency improvements to both homes and offices, where viable

4. Better green energy information to guide consumer choice and stimulate take-up, and all buildings with staff or visitors to display energy certificates

5. A fiscal and economic strategy to promote green energy, including:

  • Better Enhanced Capital Allowances for new technology
  • Feed-in Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive tariff rates and export bonuses that are adequate to ensure a significant expansion of small-scale renewable electricity generation
  • Exemption from council tax and business rate increases after green energy technologies are installed
  • Improved economic incentives for installing energy saving devices
  • Commitments for long term funding of renewables and low carbon generation technologies
  • Cheaper grid connection costs for green energies and investment in smart-grid control systems

6. Where viable, require all commercial and public sector buildings to be made more energy efficient, including when undertaking new building work

7. More rigorous enforcement of building regulations, and the public sector to lead by example by meeting its existing green energy targets

8. Identifying need for green jobs, providing courses/apprenticeships with recognised qualifications, and supporting home grown industries

9. Local councils and communities to be given more power to take the lead on local initiatives, including:

  • Drawing up sustainable energy plans for their area
  • Allowing councils to ring-fence business taxes from low carbon and renewable generation so that benefits can be felt in the communities
  • Continued support for community-led carbon reduction and green energy initiatives

10. Sustainable energy targets to meet our energy needs and statutory CO2 reduction pledges. To include:

  • Minimum of 5% of electricity generated by small-scale (less than 5 mega watts) renewables by 2020
  • Comprehensive strategy for de-carbonisation of heat
  • Introduction of an effective Renewable Heat Incentive by April 2011
  • Realisation of the existing Government commitment to achieve 15.5 giga watts of CHP generating capacity by 2020

Monday, February 8, 2010

SEP on Twitter

The Sustainable Energy Partnership has joined Twitter. We will be keeping our followers up to date with the actions they can take to help our campaigns. You can also see what we have been saying in the Twitter feed to the right of this blog, please follow us to get all our latest campaigning news.