River Clyde Homes tackles fuel poverty in Inverclyde
Over 80 Port Glasgow homes are enjoying being connected to the gas network for the first time and are already benefitting from cheaper fuel bills and more efficient heating.
Back in the 1960 and 70s a number of Inverclyde estates were build with what was then state-of-the-art electric storage heating. No gas infrastructure was ever installed. With many of these heating systems now at the end of their lifespan they are both expensive and inefficient to run.
Research shows that large numbers of customers in these properties are living in fuel poverty and housing association River Clyde Homes has decided to help lift these families from a vicious cycle.
A partnership with Carillion means that mains natural gas has been delivered to customers in the Park Farm area of Port Glasgow. The new gas network has allowed the outdated electric storage heaters to be replaced with new, highly efficient gas fired combi-boilers and radiators.
The initial pilot project, reaching 83 homes, is now complete. It is hoped the network will be expanded across all 2200 River Clyde Homes’ properties with electric heating. A local organisation called i.HEAT has visited each home to provide free and independent advice and information on how to manage the new system to ensure customers get best value.
Margaret Rowe has lived in her home since it was built in 1966.
She said: “When we moved into the house we couldn’t believe our luck. Our previous home had been a tenement flat with a coal fire, so it was luxurious to have a heating system. In recent years the storage heating has been expensive to run and pretty inefficient. My new gas heating is brilliant and I’ve really noticed a difference. It’s great being able to control the temperature in each room and wee Glen, my dog, just loves it. I’m looking forward to having cheaper bills in the future.”
Graham McDowall, investment, planning & delivery manager, said: “This is an exciting partnership project that will eventually benefit thousands of households across Inverclyde. We have been aware for some time that outdated heating systems are putting many families into fuel poverty. This project will go some way to helping customers manage their bills better.”
Carillion, the main contractor to deliver the pilot project, has over 20 years experience in helping social landlords and local authorities achieve their energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets which, in turn, result in reduced fuel bills and more efficient homes for tenants.
Local homeowners were also been contacted and offered the opportunity to connect to the new infrastructure and take advantage of the River Clyde Homes’ natural gas installation. Many have done so.
This project is a significant investment for River Clyde Homes and forms part of its Green Strategy to reduce heating costs, combat fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions.