Council Cabinet members to discuss proposals for Cold Buster officer to help low income households cut costs

Sustainable Warmth grants

A ‘cold buster’ officer could be employed by Thanet council if the proposal is approved.

The idea could be included in the 2023-24 council budget after it was proposed by Labour shadow Cabinet member Rob Yates at an overview meeting earlier this week.

Cllr Yates said the cold buster initiative could be provided by adding a third officer to the council’s home energy service.

He said: “At the recent Climate Change Cabinet Advisory Group officers informed members of the increased demand that is being placed on the Home Energy Service.

“This small team of two officers have provided invaluable expert advice to our residents during these most challenging of times due to the increasing cost of living.

“Following this, I’ve worked closely with officers to present a proposal for members to consider for recommendation to cabinet for inclusion in next year’s budget.

“I am proposing that we introduce a third officer into this team, who will provide a ‘cold buster’ service that will provide energy advice and referrals for private rented households In practice this we will have an officer available who can visit low income homes in the district to install low cost measures such as:

• Power down devices

• Radiator foils

• LED bulbs

• CO alarms

• Draft proofing

• Chimney balloons

• Make adjustments to hot water and heating temperatures

• Demonstrate smart metering

“Officers have advised the cost of providing this service is approximately £35,000 per year and can be fully funded from our existing Better Care Fund allocation.”

The Better Care Fund is  an allocation from central government and is used for services including Disabled Facilities Grants.

Thanet council’s housing boss Bob Porter suggested a full report was provided showing how the fund was spent and making sure an allocation for the Cold Buster officer did not impact on any other grant areas, which include occupational therapy officers and  a hospital discharge service

However, Cllr Yates said he had been working with officers on the proposal and believed it could be funded without causing an impact on other services.

He added: “We believe the time is now. We are in an incredibly tough energy crisis at the moment. I’ve got residents who are telling me they are paying £400 a month on electricity and gas, on energy, so now is the time to do this.

“If we start it now this scheme could expand as we prove the service.”

Members of the scrutiny group agreed to make the recommendation for Cabinet members to consider at the next meeting on January 26 and discuss whether to include the proposal in the budget measures.

Cabinet members can either approve its inclusion, reject it or defer a decision until a separate report on the Better Care Fund is produced.

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18 Comments

  1. Quite what a carbon monoxide alarm has to do with improving a properties heating efficiency is beyond me. But TDC works in weird and wonderful ways.

  2. Probably so people don’t die & waste more gas than needed-which then would likely have to be paid for by those poor energy companies.

    • Peter

      You dont seem to like anything that helps to not so fortunate in society.

      Be it people being housed opposite a posh hotel, or help in cutting their Bill’s.

      • Poor people don’t mind dirty streets?

        Street cleaning, bins, public toilet and general maintenance (things like lifts, parks and entertainment venues) should be EVERY council’s priority. The reason why Thanet is so squalid is because TDC have been progressively ignoring those things for the best part of half a century.

      • Yes.
        Besides, Thanet does not need another (no doubt) large salary to pay for to enable households to be told how to cut their energy usages.
        Almost everybody can be informed of these things on one of the social media outlets if indeed it is necessary.
        Another waste of our money, another job created unnecessarily.

    • At least 3 and half million people do not have a computer, and about the same again don’t have any keyboard skills even if they do! I witnessed this some years ago when I bought a flat in a Retirement Scheme (big mistake, the management could run a bath!) many residents ended up just playing games on a computer their relatives bought them! Here’s a thought though, I bought a 2 bed semi detached bungalow, and as a pensioner could comfortably leave the central heating on during the day to heat the lounge, hallway, and spare bedroom (my man cave) I cut my energy costs by a third, just by heating the spare bedroom, and turning it off in the evening, plus wearing an extra pullover! Try it!

      • PS. that should read the management couldn’t run a bath! I recovered £78,000 for the residents the Housing Association had misappropriated over a number of years!

  3. I would rather our energy bills were reduced whenever the wholesale oil and gas prices fall. Energy wholesale price has dropped down to the same level as last year but we are still facing ever increasing prices!! Why is the Government not making sure it is fair for consumers? Do they all have shares in those rich companies?

    All things possible have already taken place in most residences already. There is only so much loft insulation and draught excluder you can put up. The boiler has already been turned down and off as much as possible.

    • KR.

      I quite agree.
      Another aspect of the bills that nobody has seriously questioned is the enormous hike in the STANDING CHARGE!
      Why was this increased so much , 2-3 times original, just weeks after the price of gas rose so dramatically last year?
      I hadn’t realised that the costs associated with maintaining the power infrastructure, gas pipes, electricity cables etc in this country were controlled by the overseas suppliers of gas and electricity.
      No wonder Shell, BP and others are raking in £Billions of extra profit. Simply criminal and has been allowed to continue even now that gas prices have noticeably reduced of late.

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