Council to look into low-cost energy co-op

Cooking on gas. Pic: Adem Djemil

Tower Hamlets council is to look into the creation of an ‘energy co-operative’ in a drive to lower energy bills and reduce fuel poverty in the borough.

The council’s plans involve assembling potential sponsors and partners to collaborate with suggestions on how to produce a large-scale domestic power purchase. This would enable the council to supply cheaper energy throughout its wards, aimed specifically at council housing tenants and those living in poverty.

The council believes this could reduce ‘fuel poverty’ in the area.

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “I am a great supporter of the co-operative movement and believe that we can use it to bring about mutual benefit to the community.

“I want to see if we can set up a cooperative in Tower Hamlets that coordinates the collective buying power for all our residents, giving them access to cheaper electricity and gas.

“At a time when family budgets are being squeezed by rapid increases to living costs, this would help residents to keep their hard earned money in their pockets.”

Nowadays fuel poverty is one the most concerning issues in the country. While an average household spends 3.3 per cent of its income on energy, for poorer families this is closer to 7 per cent.

This can be exacerbated by poor insulation and in cases of under-occupation, resulting in an inefficient use of energy for heating.

Kate Hands, from Friends of the Earth in Tower Hamlets, welcomed the move. She said: “We always support sustainable measures and I am totally supportive of the Tower Hamlets idea to reduce fuel poverty in the borough.

“Such processes involve not only helping people to save money and to increase social justice, but they also have environmental gains such as reducing energy consumption in the area”.

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