Knauf Insulation is warning the Government not to ignore the long-term picture, amid claims that it is planning to extend the deadline for energy companies to fulfil their responsibilities under the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), in a bid to lower fuel bills.
However, Knauf Insulation argues that this will slash the levels of support available for upgrading the energy efficiency of low income and hard to treat properties. The manufacturer contends that cutting ECO will only lead to more households having to choose between heating and eating, and more cold related winter deaths in the future.
Steven Heath, External Affairs Director for Knauf Insulation Northern Europe, commented: Removing the ECO subsidy is a breathtakingly short sighted strategy that could have a disastrous effect on future generations. Yes, cutting ECO will reduce fuel bills very slightly in the short term, but at what cost?
ECO is a vital part of the puzzle when it comes to transforming our housing stock, which is among the leakiest and coldest in Europe. Already we are in the shocking position where nearly half of the 24,000 excess winter deaths are due to cold homes and many of the UKs 4.5 million fuel poor households are facing the choice between food and heating . Furthermore, every un-insulated home currently wastes £310 a year in preventable energy bills and produces an extra 1.3 tonnes of carbon. Removing ECO means these figures will inevitably rise and keep on rising.
Bear in mind that the current ECO subsidy for low income homes is only £47 out of the average annual household bill of £1,267 surely a small price to pay to ensure the most vulnerable people in our society have access to warm and safe homes? The simple fact is that over time fuel bills will increase anyway, so the ONLY effective long term solution is to act now to reduce energy use by improving the fabric and thermal efficiency of our buildings.