Archive for January, 2012

Lewisham campaigners turn up the heat on fuel poverty

January 20, 2012

For immediate release:
Wednesday January 25th 2012
Lewisham campaigners turn up the heat on fuel poverty
Photocall: Fire-eaters, bill burning, a Peoples Forum on fuel poverty, and mass warm-up
Friday January 27th 2012
Lewisham Town Hall,Catford, London SE6 4RU 6pm
Lewisham joins protests across the UK as part of the Fuel Poverty Action Winter Warm-Up Weekend of Friday 27th – Monday 30th January [1]

Locals angry at having to make the choice between ‘heating and eating’ will be ‘warming up’ in and outside offices of energy companies, local government, and housing providers. Protestors will gather at Lewisham Town Hall to demand democratically controlled and accountable energy, decent fuel-efficient housing, and an end to deaths caused by fuel poverty. There will be a Peoples’ Forum, a burning of bills to keep warm , and a sharing of tea and information on how to bring down the cost of heating.

Local campaigner Alice Miller said, “We’ve chosen to hold our protest at Lewisham Town Hall because it is a tax-payer heated building and if we get too cold outside, we should be able to go inside to keep warm”. Community Action Lewisham [2], who have organised the event, want people to know that: “There are things we can do ourselves right now to keep warm for less and make sure councils and other landlords do what they should”, says CAL activist Alex Hardy, going on to say, “However, only a democratic public energy system can permanently lift people out of fuel poverty and enable us to make the rapid transition thats needed, to green and sustainable energy”

Contact:
James Holland 07905 685 906 or Ewa Jasiewicz 07749 421 576 Community Action Lewisham and Fuel Poverty Action

Why: the facts
According to the government-commissioned Hills Poverty Review, 2,700 people – a conservative estimate – will die this winter as a direct result of being ‘fuel poor’. As of April 2011, nearly 1 in 4 households (6.3million homes) in the UK were in fuel poverty. While between 2005 and 2009 the number of UK people in fuel poverty doubled, the profits of the UK’s ‘Big Six’ energy companies – EDF, Centrica, Eon, RWE Npower, Scottish Power and Southern & Scottish Energy – have soared to a record five-year high. The 5% price decreases announced by EDF and British Gas go back only a short way against the 14.2% overall price rise this year. The government is making matters worse by delaying compulsory landlord-installed insulation, undermining the solar power feed-in tariff, and cutting the Winter Fuel Allowance.
Failing to make a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy will have huge environmental, human and economic costs. The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue, annual global economic damages could reach US$20 trillion by 2100, or 6-8% of global economic output at that time.

[1] Fuel Poverty Action (http://fuelpovertyaction.wordpress.com/ Twitter @ FuelPovAction) Protests are plabbed for Hackney, Harringey, Cambridge, and Leeds. FPA was set up in 2011 as part of Climate Justice Collective. It aims to support and give a voice to people who can’t afford to pay mammoth fuel bills, and to take action against the energy companies, private and social landlords, and corrupt governments, national and local, that are leaving people in the cold. In November 2011, Fuel Poverty Action held a ‘die-in’ protest at EDF offices in London to mark the thousands of deaths due to fuel poverty in the UK annually (video and photos).
[2] Community Action Lewisham https://communityactionlewisham.wordpress.com/

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