Energy & Fuel
Affordable warmth is the ability to heat a home to an adequate level for household comfort and health without developing debt as a result. The lack of affordable warmth is known as fuel poverty.
With a high percentage of inefficient, solid-wall housing and many homes without a connection to the mains gas grid, rural households can face unique challenges. The delivery of Government-backed measures such as Green Deal and ECO have not been as successful for households that live in difficult-to-treat houses and those that have to rely on heating oil or LPG for their energy.
The ACRE Network is helping to tackle these challenges by raising awareness of Government programmes to improve energy efficiency and also by working with local authorities and other organisations on a variety of local energy projects. ACRE is currently working with a number of groups including the Department for Energy and Climate Change to try to ensure that rural proofing of policy and initiatives is undertaken.
Whilst the price of heating oil has been reducing since 2015, householders can still make savings by being part of an oil buying group. More than 20 members of the ACRE Network run oil-buying groups who purchase more than 13 million litres each year on behalf of rural customers, saving them a total of £650,000.
Community renewable energy generation schemes, such as wind turbines, photovoltaic panels or biomass heating, can play a part in the sustainability of rural communities. ACRE believes more investment is needed in support organisations to help groups who are thinking of developing renewables schemes.