Oxford City Council is urging Oxford residents to contact Better Housing Better Health to help get £140 off their electricity bills this winter.
The discount is available under the government’s Warm Home Discount (WHD) scheme. This is a one-off discount on electricity bills between September and March. It is available to people with prepayment meters.
There are two ways to qualify for a discount. People who get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit will receive a letter from their energy supplier telling them how to get their WHD.
Working age people can qualify for the WHD if they are on a low income, getting means-tested benefits, or have a disability or children under five. Eligibility can vary depending on the energy supplier, and there is a limited amount of help available for people who are not pensioners.
To avoid missing out, the council says that residents should not delay contacting their energy supplier to claim the WHD. People who need support to find out if they qualify or to claim WHD should contact the free Better Housing Better Health service.
Better Housing Better Health gives Oxford residents a single point of contact for services, advice and grants in order to stay warm and well in their homes.
The Better Housing Better Health helpline number is 0800 107 0044, which is open between 9 am and 5 pm on weekdays.
Private sector landlords in Oxford can now apply for funding to improve the energy efficiency of their properties and reduce fuel poverty, thanks to funding from The Ebico Trust, with Oxford City Council carrying out the improvement works.
The offer is open to privately rented properties within the city’s boundaries and will allow them to carry out improvements to their properties such as:
- Loft insulation
- Thermostatic Radiator Valves and pipe insulation
- Draught proofing,
Following changes in legislation that came into force in April 2016, it is now a legal requirement for private residential landlords to consent to a tenant’s reasonable request for energy efficiency improvements where finance is available. From 2018, it will be unlawful to rent out a property that does not reach a minimum energy efficiency standard.
Funded by The Ebico Trust, the Private Rented Energy Efficiency Grant (PREEG) is available on the provision of certain documentation (see web link below for more details).
To register your interest for grants of up to £1,500 per property for up to five of your properties, landlords should go to www.oxford.gov.uk/preeg or email
Successful applicants will have their properties surveyed for free to determine which of the eligible works are feasible and can be included in the energy efficiency package.
Phil Levermore, Trustee of The Ebico Trust, said: “Ebico is dedicated to tackling the problem of fuel poverty, both locally and nationally. It’s clear to us that the key will be energy efficiency improvements in people’s homes. We’re pleased to be able to help Oxford’s private landlords rise to this challenge.”
- The property must continue to be available for letting two years from the date the City Council confirms the works are complete, otherwise the grant must be repaid in full.
- Landlords are also required to make a 50 per cent contribution in full before the works can start.
- The properties must be rated D, E, F or G in their Energy Performance Certificate
If you or someone you know in Oxford is on benefits, or has a long term health or mental health condition or other vulnerability, it’s likely they are eligible for Project LEAP. It is for all tenures (including social housing but not Green Square properties).
The following free services are available:
- home visit providing heating control training, installing simple measures, energy efficiency advice
- income maximisation advice
- larger energy efficiency measures where funding is available (eg insulation, boilers)
- referrals to other services such as HHSRS and other support.
More information can be found at can be found at www.projectleap.org.uk.
REVISED TIMETABLE FOR THE ENERGY LINK
The project re-commenced on time in January, but the whole timetable has now been delayed by three factors:
- Installing the storm drain and sewer for the Winvic development on Latimer Road
- Unforeseen concrete and Utilities Congestion in All Saints Road and Lime Walk
- County Council Access to Headington work at Roosevelt Drive/Old Road currently over-running by two weeks.
Vital Energi apologises for any inconvenience that these delays may cause and will do everything they can to make up lost time if at all possible and to assist residents and stakeholders at all times. There is no provision for night or weekend work to make up lost time as this would require a variation to the planning consent, which would take weeks to come through, delaying the process still further.
The new Timetable is as follows, but please note that it could change again depending on the concrete/utilities under the roads, the weather, if the dig teams can make up lost time or if Vital is delayed getting onto London Rd, Old Rd by the Access to Headington work at Roosevelt Drive.
|Grange Road – The Brambles
||The Brambles – 55 Latimer Rd
||57 Latimer – All Saints
||London Rd & Latimer road
||86 Lime Walk – Nursery Close
||Nursery Close – 129b
||129b – Old Road
||WILL START 16 JANUARY
||Phase 2 & 4
||Phase 3 & 5
|NB – the timetable on CH Drive is also contingent on the Archaeological Survey
Where the dig goes past a junction, the work section will end and begin halfway across the junction so that one side of the road is always kept open.
Please note that this timetable could change further. For up to date information, follow Twitter or see the Trust website: www.ouh.nhs/energy.
Residents have raised a number of queries about the energy pipe works – all complaints have been understood and resolved. It is normal to have teething problems at the beginning of a major project.
Why did works start at 7am Tuesday morning?
A delivery on Monday morning at 8am had caused tailbacks. An unauthorised decision was taken to try and avoid this today by manoeuvring a delivery earlier in the morning so that traffic would not be affected so significantly. This has been reported and it has been made clear to all contractors that works shall not commence before 8am in future.
Why is there some fencing off of pavement, we were told pavement would not be affected?
The location of the pipe is very close to the kerb on All Saints Road. The HERAS fencing has now been moved to be as close to the kerb as possible, allowing for 2m of pavement for pedestrians
Why has the end date before Christmas been moved from 16th to 23rd December?
The Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) made it clear that there should be no work after 16th. However the County Streetworks Team is trying to make sure that the Vital Energi works dovetail with the Winvic works at Beech House. There is one section of Latimer Road where connections need to be made from Beech House to each of the storm and foul water drains. Winvic need to dig a trench under the pavement and Vital Energi will enable that trench to connect to the sewers under the road surface in conjunction with its own energy pipe trench. The Winvic work has to be done before Vital Energi can combine it into their trench work because the connecting pipes run downhill. The County Council wants this joint working to happen so that (a) that part of Latimer Road isn’t dug up twice and (b) to minimise disruption to residents.
So the 23rd December has been mooted as a contingency date in case the Winvic works aren’t done in time to meet Vital’s deadline. The County officers have been to site to ensure all kit for the Winvic work is ready to go asap, so we are hoping that all work by both teams will still make the deadline of the 16th.
This has been reflected in the new signage.
There was noise overnight from the generator in the temporary Sandfield Road car park
This has been rectified and will not happen in future.
Oxford residents affected by living in cold or damp homes are able to receive grants of up to £2,500 to help keep their homes warmer.
The Better Housing, Better Health scheme aims to reduce the pressure on health services, improve health and wellbeing for those living with cardiovascular disease or respiratory illness, and reduce fuel poverty.
The scheme, which runs until December 2016, provides:
- Grants of up to £2,500 for energy efficiency measures for owner occupied homes where someone has a respiratory illness or cardiovascular disease. Measures can include installing insulation and draught-proofing, and replacing outside doors or windows
- Free surveys to identify potential risks to health in owner occupied and privately rented homes where someone has a respiratory illness or cardiovascular disease.
- Support with benefits checks, fuel debt mediation and switching energy tariff or supplier for anyone in need of support.
Oxford residents can quickly check if they are eligible by calling the Affordable Warmth Helpline on 0800 107 00 44.
The helpline, which also provides free and impartial advice about how to keep homes warm, is open Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm.
An email helpdesk is also available: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Better Housing, Better Health, please visit www.nef.org.uk/bhbh.