Nearly a million British households are being offered a GBP 100 rebate on their council tax bill if they install energy-saving measures in their home.
The British Gas initiative – which could initially benefit around 880,000 homes – is designed to cut the millions of pounds of wasted energy.
It’s estimated that GBP 1 in every GBP 3 spent on heating is currently being wasted because of poor insulation in 10.3 million homes in the UK.
Sixteen local authorities have joined the initiative to offer rebates to their residents. A further 40 councils are now in discussion with British Gas about proposals for similar schemes.
The move may see British Gas regaining some lost popularity. Earlier this month, it came under fire for a 22 per cent price hike in its gas and electricity bills, making it the most expensive utility provider. Today also sees more than 4.5 million EDF Energy customers being hit by a rise of nearly 5 per cent for electricity, and nearly 15 per cent for gas.
Insulation to be installed by British Gas
In order to qualify under the new council tax rebate scheme, a householder must install subsidised cavity wall insulation through British Gas before they can apply for reduction. When the insulation is in place, the council will deduct GBP 100 from the householder’s council tax bill.
Ministers say that although the householder has to invest GBP 175 to get the insulation installed, average annual savings on energy bills are about GBP 110.
Elliot Morley, Minister for Climate Change and Environment, said: ‘I welcome the positive and innovative approach of British Gas and local authorities, this is a good example of how the government’s Energy Efficiency Commitment is benefiting millions of people through subsidised home improvements – and in a period of high energy prices it is an opportunity to make major savings.
‘Since 2002 around 10 million households, 6 million of them on a low income, have benefited with the help of a range of energy suppliers across the country from warmer, more comfortable homes and lower fuel bills, with the added benefit of significant cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases which cause climate change.
‘I am pleased to see that the British Gas scheme is being extended to more areas as it is a very effective approach.’
Targets for home energy efficiency
The 16 councils involved in the rebate are: Braintree, Essex; Taunton Dean; Salford; Croydon; Conwy; South Cambridgeshire; South Hams; Fareham; South Northants; Ipswich; Daventry; Runnymeade; Suffolk Coastal; Tamworth; Solihull and Kettering.
Energy suppliers of a certain size are obliged to help achieve targets for improving home energy efficiency.
The suppliers provide a range of offers which can significantly reduce the cost of installing energy efficiency measures. Homeowners can take up offers from any of the energy companies, regardless of which company supplies their energy.
There’s more information on the Energy Saving Trust website.