By Nick Morrison
Tuesday evening, 4th of February, saw a presentation by Lindsey Johnson of THAW on fuel poverty to OREF and THAW ‘s work to attempt to mitigate the effects of it.
Orkney suffers one of the highest rates of fuel poverty. Currently fuel poverty in Orkney is around 57% this is a little bit down from the 63% it was previously.
Fuel poverty is defined as where a household has to spend 10% or more of its income on fuel /energy . The Scottish figures for fuel poverty showed that those using electricity as their main fuel are amongst the highest at 43% . 39% of local authority or housing association tenants are fuel poor . Of mortgage holders only 10% are fuel poor .
Lindsey Johnson’s presentation was fact and data rich. I can only hope to give you a few points from it .
Since its inception THAW has managed to put £1.8 million into alleviating fuel poverty in Orkney. This in turn translates to around £10 million of social benefit .
The causes of fuel poverty are many: poor/old housing stock, low incomes and benefit cuts certainly aggravate the situation significantly. Our situation on the islands certainly doesn’t help. Even in one of the best insulated houses on the islands the internal wall surface can be reduced by as much as 5°C in high winds .
THAW helps households in many ways for example helping with the bureaucracy of tariff switching or in accurate bills from energy providers . In some circumstances it replaces inefficient boilers heat pumps and the like .
This was a well attended meeting on a cold and blustery night and there were many searching questions from the audience .
If you would like to read more about THAW and their work in Orkney click on this link: THAW Orkney 5 Years of Supporting Islanders in Fuel Poverty
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