Fife Council tenants could benefit from cheaper bills after councillors agreed to sign up to be part of a new energy supply company.
‘Our Power’ aims to help tackle fuel poverty by providing lower cost electricity and gas to the tenants of its member organisations.
Already, 27 housing associations and two councils in Scotland have signed up.
Fife Council’s decision to join at this early stage will enable it to secure a place on the board and be involved in the set-up process.
Councillor Judy Hamilton, executive member for housing, said: “Although we have worked with tenants to address the root causes of fuel poverty – household income and property efficiency – there is still a huge amount of work to be done to assist households which are having difficulty heating their homes to a reasonable standard and at a reasonable cost.
“This gives us a real opportunity to address the issue of energy prices.
“With energy prices rising and some households at risk of falling into fuel poverty, energy suppliers like Our Power will be an extremely useful resource by which councils can assist vulnerable tenants and those on low incomes to save on their bills and avoid ill health.
“It is more important than ever that bills – in this case, energy bills – can be as manageable as possible.”
Fife Council will have to pay a £10,000 joining fee, and the decision to sign up is subject to councillors’ approval of the Our Power business plan.
Councillors have also asked a a report to be produced, looking at other options to reduce fuel poverty.
Initially, the plan is for new tenants taking on previously void properties or moving into new Council homes will be supplied with their gas and electricity by Our Power.
It’s hoped that existing tenants will then benefit by being able to switch from their current suppliers.
Alan Russell, senior manager (housing asset management), said: “Fife Council has a strong, committed, and wide-ranging partnership arrangement to tackle the causes of fuel poverty, but the area where it has least impact is on fuel prices.
“This membership will provide a useful tool to tackle this aspect, with a minimal investment from the Council.”
Anyone currently struggling to afford to heat their home should call the Energy Saving Scotland advice centre on 0800 512 012 or visit the website www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/scotland