Flats in London

Getting warmer - give London renters an energy break

02 May 2017

Many London homes are leaky and hard to heat. Improving them would help meet carbon reduction targets - they produce over a third of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, 13.4 million tonnes of CO2 in 2014.

The private rented sector is particularly difficult, as landlords are often not keen to improve energy efficiency standards, sometimes because they don’t know about easy improvements.

The London Assembly Environment Committee launches its report, ‘Getting Warmer’ [1]  today which examines what the Mayor can do to reduce domestic carbon emissions and fuel poverty in the capital.

The report found:

  • At least one in five Londoners has a pre-payment meter for gas and/or electricity. The best energy tariffs are not available to these customers.
  • In December 2016, Ofgem found that there were more than 1.7 million customers with a particular supplier who could save over £260 a year by switching to the cheapest tariff from that same supplier.
  • After having a smart meter installed, eight in ten people take steps to reduce their energy usage.
  • Small private landlords may have limited awareness of what practical steps they can take to improve efficiency.
  • There is also an issue of limited enforcement in the private rented sector.

The report’s recommendations to the Mayor include:

  • Supporting improvements in the rented sector, with clear advice to small landlords on energy efficiency and how to achieve it, plus support for councils on enforcement of private landlords’ energy efficiency obligations.
  • A consultation on clearer regulations for the private rented sector with a view to improving energy efficiency and affordable warmth.
  • Working with boroughs and other large landlords to promote the rollout of smart meters in rented housing, for example when a property changes tenants.
  • Supporting people to move off pre-payment meters where it is in their interests, or offer pre-payment tariffs at the same price as credit.
  • Investigating the feasibility of, and setting up if possible, a finance provider (within or alongside the Energy for Londoners Company) to provide a version of the Green Deal in London, ideally offering lower interest rates than commercial loans.

Environment Committee Chair, Leonie Cooper AM, said:

“London has found energy improvements particularly challenging. It has always got less than its fair share of available funding under the national schemes, and so less work has been carried out. Other areas such as Scotland that were once in the same position have secured more than their share, by working actively with social landlords, overcoming barriers for installers and by providing additional capital funding..

This lack of energy improvement work has contributed to London’s recent huge rises in fuel poverty.

Landlords should be supported to improve their properties – this will help those renters who struggle to pay rising energy prices, as well as benefitting the environment. The report makes some other excellent recommendations to the Mayor as well, such as support for a Mayoral energy supplier, suggestions on pre-payment and smart meters, community energy generation schemes, smart energy use and behaviour change.”

Notes to editors

  1. Read the ‘Getting Warmer’ report.
  2. The report as a whole represents the consensus of the Environment Committee; however, the Green Party Group has a dissenting opinion on the merits of a ‘white label’ model versus a ‘fully licensed’ model for the proposed Energy for Londoners mayoral energy company. The Green Party Group opinion is given in a note on page 16, and affects recommendations 13 and 17.
  3. Leonie Cooper AM, Environment Committee Chair, is available for interview – see contact details below.
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Mary Dolan on 020 7983 4603.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

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