Sadiq Khan launches emergency energy advice service for Londoners; says can’t burden people with debt
The mayor’s new service comes as the new PM is expected to announce a rent freeze to be repaid by customers through energy bills or taxes. London mayor Sadiq Khan (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
London mayor Sadiq Khan on Wednesday (7) announced a new advice service — Energy Advice London — to support Londoners struggling to pay soaring energy bills due to the cost of living crisis.
This comes as Londoners face the possibility of not being able to heat their homes or put food on the table with energy bills already at high levels even before most Londoners need to turn on their heating. Energy Advice London – the first such service available to all Londoners in a decade – will help Londoners navigate the spiralling cost of living crisis and will launch this autumn, a press release from the mayor’s office said.
Funded by the mayor, the new service will be run by the Energy Saving Trust with a website and dedicated phone line to expertly guide Londoners through managing their bills and help them make their homes more energy efficient.
Like the Cost of Living Hub, Energy Advice London will be available to all Londoners but with an energy focus. It will complement the support that the mayor already offers to vulnerable and low income Londoners through the Warmer Homes Advice Service and the Warmer Homes scheme.
However, Khan has stated that this alone isn’t enough and that the government must immediately address the crisis facing Londoners and the nation. Sadiq is calling for a ‘Lifeline Tariff’ which will allow a minimum floor of domestic energy use before charges begin for the most vulnerable people in London.
He has also said the government should freeze bills but not make Londoners pay for this through a lost era of debt or through their taxes but instead use a windfall tax on those fossil fuel companies that have benefits from this crisis. In addition, he has said it is time to overturn a decade of inaction on making homes energy efficient to ensure Londoners are insulated from such a price surge in the future.
“With eye-watering energy bills awaiting anyone that turns on their heating for the first time this Autumn, too many Londoners will be faced with being unable to heat their homes or feed their families,” Khan said.
“Energy Advice London will help Londoners manage their bills while keeping their homes warm, but this crisis can’t be averted without Government putting the right plan in place. I’m pleased to see that government are planning to freeze bills but if they are to be repaid by the public then people will be trapped into high bills or taxes for years to come, while the fossil fuel businesses enjoy their unearned profits. We can’t afford to saddle Londoners with years of debt. The government must introduce a ‘Lifeline Tariff’ to ensure support for those who need it most through this Covid-level crisis.”
Mike Thornton, chief executive, Energy Saving Trust said: “We’re proud to be part of the positive action being taken in London to provide advice on reducing energy bills. As an expert in delivering advice services across the UK for decades, we know the difference that access to tailored information for individuals on energy efficiency, reducing their energy bills and eligibility for financial support can make. We look forward to helping households and working with the mayor’s office and London borough councils to offer support this winter.”