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£50m eco plan in bid to tackle fuel poverty
3:20pm Wednesday 14th August 2013 in News
CIVIC chiefs are set to fire the starting gun on an ambitious project to save Hampshire families hundreds of pounds on their fuel bills.
Next week the search will begin to find a firm to run the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) initiative which is designed to tackle fuel poverty in the county and could create up to 760 new jobs.
Southampton City Council is coordinating the project, which could see £50m ploughed into improvements to thousands of thermally inefficient homes. The Solent ECO project, which will also includes the New Forest, Eastleigh, Portsmouth and Winchester, is part of a Government-led initiative to unlock £1.3billion of funding for energy improvements across the country.
The vast majority of money used in the ECO projects will be provided by the energy companies, with the Government introducing new responsibilities for them to improve homes’ energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.
The Solent project could secure up to £50million of funding, which could benefit 21,000 homes in Hampshire.
Among the improvement works which could save residents hundreds of pounds a year on their fuel bills are improving insulation, introducing new, more efficient heating systems and replacing concrete housing panels which have low thermal performances.
It is also estimated that securing the funding could lead to between 590 and 760 jobs being created, while 300 current posts would be safeguarded.
Southampton City Council’s cabinet is expected to delegate authority to senior officers to find an energy company to deliver the ECO project.
They then expect to sign a two-year contract in November, with the option of a further five years.
City housing and sustainability boss Warwick Payne said: “Crucially, not only are we helping to save the environment but many of these carbon reduction schemes will deliver a saving to the Southampton taxpayer.”
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