How energy saving tips can harm the most vulnerable families

How energy saving tips can harm the most vulnerable families

With British households facing a severe energy crisis, there has been no shortage of advice from politicians, experts and journalists on how to save energy. Not all of this advice was good.

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested it Buying a new kettle For £20 it could save families £10 a year on electricity bills – a comment that has been criticized for being unhelpful as well as a far cry from Brits’ daily struggles.

Former Conservative MP Edwina Corrie urged similar criticism, saying that rather than catastrophe about 80% increase in the price of energy in OctoberWe must be Lining our radiators with aluminum foil to save energy.

Some advice, like the one I gave Money saving expert Martin Lewis and energy saving boxIt can be helpful or even obvious. Turn off appliances in standby mode and protect your home from clouds two examples. But telling people to rely on tips like Drying your hair in the office or Burn books to keep warm It can be unrealistic, silly, or downright dangerous.

In the right situation, energy tips can be beneficial to families and communities. One example is energy cafeswhich has demystified energy bills through community events that offer face-to-face advice.

But the advice is not a substitute for the government’s broad financial support and investments in energy efficiency needed to help families at the end of an acute crisis. Simply lining the radiator with aluminum foil won’t fix the EPA Expected for next year.

When energy-saving tips hurt families

Focusing on energy-saving tips and “hacks” can perpetuate a misleading and potentially dangerous narrative: that if only low-income households were wiser, more efficient, and rational about their energy use, they wouldn’t struggle to pay their rising bills.

Recent evidence from UCL’s Institute of Health Equity They reaffirmed the devastating effects that not having enough energy can have on physical and mental health. It is estimated that 10% of excess deaths in winter could be directly related to fuel poverty And 21.5% of those deaths are related to cold homes.

For the most vulnerable families, common advice can be exclusionary or even insulting. Telling people to shower at the gym, or plugging in their phones at work, assumes that You have a gym membership Or work in an office where they can leave devices to charge safely.

Families are already beginning to cut back on their expenses. Indeed, in the face of recent price increases, the charity National Energy Action has argued that for millions of low-income families, there is nothing left to cut. They are already going Infused with warmth and strength.

Evidence from Resolution shows that low-income families will have to cut back on essentials by Three times more wealthy families to withstand their energy bills this winter.

While some energy-saving tips are helpful, they are not a substitute for government action.
eggeegg / shutterstock

Requiring households to reduce or shift energy demand – “energy rationing” – has been widely discussed as a mechanism for managing the forecast of limited, costly and volatile energy supplies for the coming winter. While new Prime Minister Liz Truss has ruled out a blackout, Experts warn that the UK must be prepared For both scheduled and unscheduled periods without electricity due to supply restrictions.

Reductions in energy demand at the household level must be carefully designed to target those who can do so safely, without jeopardizing their health. Those with higher energy needs who are often already deprived of the energy system need to be given priority. this means The elderly, young children, people with disabilities or long-term health conditions.

It should target energy demand cuts Affordable families with high consumption Or energy services that can be considered Excessive luxuries.

People who live on low incomes are Usually very good at managing tight budgets And make the resources stretch as much as possible. In fact, lower-income families are often much better at reducing energy consumption than their own Relatively wealthy counterparts.

We cannot and should not expect families struggling to provide for basic necessities – including warmth, hot water, laundry and lighting – to “hack” their way out of this unprecedented rise in the cost of energy.

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