Friday 6 February 2015

A huge effort is underway to ensure council tenants are warm and cosy in their homes as the cold wintry weather bites.

Sheffield Council’s Housing Service and its partners are working together to improve the energy efficiency of homes and ensure repairs are completed as quickly as possible.

Since April last year, the Council has replaced on average 180 heating systems and boilers a month, which will continue for the next three years at this pace.

From mid November 2014 to mid January this year, Kier Services completed 1,221 boiler repairs, with 98.4%, including urgent repairs, completed the same day.

Kier’s handyperson service is ensuring vulnerable tenants are kept warm by carrying extra fan heaters in their vans.

In December 2014 new boilers worth more than £400,000 were installed to supply heating to the six tower blocks at Callow. This work ensured reliable heating for those tenants this winter as the old boilers were at the end of their useful life.

And over the next 5 years, 11,000 heating systems will be upgraded by the Council and its partners Aqua Interiors, Kier Services, Yorkshire Plumbing & Heating, and Denton & Nickels.

Customers with a new boiler or heating system can expect a 15-20% reduction in their gas bills over a typical year.

In addition, cavity and loft insulation is being fitted to council homes that haven’t had this work previously done under Decent Homes or another investment programme.

This week is Cold Homes Week, a national campaign to raise awareness of fuel poverty and get the support of politicians to make UK homes super energy efficient.

“In Sheffield we are investing significantly in our housing stock to ensure people are warm and safe in their homes, helping them save money on fuel bills wherever possible,” said Councillor Harry Harpham, Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods.

“We are committed to making properties as energy efficient as we can, as well as making sure heating repairs are completed quickly and competently.”

Kier Head of Service in Sheffield, Scott Murray, said: “We service and maintain gas appliances in tenants’ homes across the city all year round, but it is at this time of the year when boilers are used most. Therefore it is important that when tenants receive a gas service appointment letter from us, they confirm that appointment so we can ensure their boiler performs at its best, and is less likely to break down as the cold weather sets in.”

Next year, the Council will invest around £65m on council housing improvements with a focus on works such as replacement heating systems, insulation, new roofs and plans for the installation of solar panels which make homes more energy efficient, reduce bills and help people stay warm in their own homes.

Cold Homes Week runs from February 2nd – there is more information at: www.energybillrevolution.org/cold-homes-week/