12% of Welsh Social Housing off Mains - Welsh Lib Dems

2009 Tachwedd 11 10:24 AM

New figures compiled by the Welsh Liberal Democrats show that 12% ofsocial housing in Wales is heated by fuels such as heating oil, LPG andelectricity, because they are not on mains gas.

Off mains energy has typically been more expensive, and there was adramatic spike in the cost of heating oil last year that led to userspaying nearly twice as much to heat their homes.

The highest proportion of non-mains properties are in Ceredigion(47.3%), Gwynedd (38%) and Powys (32%), but not a single local authorityhas all of its properties connected to the mains gas network.

Mains gas is also less polluting than most non-mains fuels. Whereasmains gas creates 185 grams of CO2 for each unit of heat created, oilreleases 282 grams, coal releases 330 grams and electricity releases amassive 537 grams.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Wales RogerWilliams said:

"People living in social housing are already likely to be under morefinancial pressure as it is, so if they do have to pay more to heattheir homes it is a real concern.

"Mains gas prices have been more stable, and users are able to benefitfrom the much greater ease of switching suppliers. Users of heating oiland LPG also suffer from having to buy in bulk and are particularlyvulnerable to price volatility, a huge concern for those on low incomes.

"These figures show that a significant proportion of the housing stockis not connected to the mains gas network, and it is likely that fuelpoverty will be intensified as a result.

"There needs to be an investigation of how this issue is affecting thoseliving in social housing, and how we can support those who faceadditional costs."

Roger added:

"It won't be possible for all properties to be brought on to the mains,but the Government and the National Grid must work with localauthorities to get as many council owned properties on the gas networkas possible.

"This is a matter which so far hasn't had much attention, and I hopethat in light of these figures, there will be a renewed effort towardsreducing fuel poverty for those in social housing."

Notes:

If any clarifications are required please contact Chris Walker on 0207219 8469 . More detailed figures are available on request.

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