I am calling on the Housing Executive to look at the current provision of energy supply to hundreds of homes in the greater Brandywell area and look at the feasibility of installing gas central heating systems there.
Over the years local residents have complained to me about their lack of energy options and problems around oil heating systems .This could provide a cleaner and more efficient source of heating for the residents and give them a cheaper option. In this day and age every penny in the weekly budget counts. The five or ten pounds saved from any bill can quickly be redirected to be used somewhere else in a household budget.
In the Derry City Council area specifically, 30% of households are in fuel poverty and 26% of households with children are in fuel poverty. Overall, the North has higher expenditure on energy bills than Britain, paying £2,114 a year for heating and electricity which is more than double the highest energy bill in Britain.
There has been a 64% rise in home heating costs over the last 5 years. Low household incomes, rising fuel costs as well as poor insulation and inefficient heating systems all contribute to fuel poverty. As the cost of fuel continues to rise, this chronic problem can only get worse with people having to decide whether to ‘heat or eat’.
I will be having a series of meetings with the organisations who have also identified a number of issues around energy supply including the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum, Dove house and Colm Barton from the Triax Neighbourhood Management Team .We will also be discussing fuel poverty and other social and health inequalities in the area.