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Our hustings event, modelled on the BBC 1 show ‘Question Time’ is a fantastic opportunity to ask your local Brighton Pavilion candidates all those pressing questions concerning climate change and with the aim of teasing out their different approaches.Panel members include Green Party candidate Caroline Lucas, Labour candidate Purna Sen, Conservative Party candidate Clarence Mitchell, Lib Dem candidate Chris Bowers and UKIP candidate Nigel Carter. In the chair: Simon Maxwell.

Everyone will get an opportunity for their question to be asked, questions will be submitted before the event.

Through this event, we aim to:

– Encourage young people/first time voters to engage
– Gain a better understanding of the local candidates stance on environmental issues
– Encourage lively debate and awareness of the issues
– Give you an opportunity to question your potential MP’s
The event is sponsored by Community Energy South – a new umbrella group for local community energy groups across Sussex and surrounding counties.

Ticket Prices : £5 and concession £3

Doors and bar open: 7.00pm
Deadline for submitting questions: 7.30pm

Debate starts: 8.00pm (prompt – please be in your seats!)

 

With the fossil fuel industry up to capacityred box Treasury, the government has ignored the obvious alternative and decided to hand out tax breaks for dirty gas, oil and nuclear power, despite overwhelming scientific and economic evidence of the benefits of renewable alternatives.

So, the air gets more polluted and unnecessarily cold homes continue to contribute to the misery and deaths of thousands of vulnerable people each winter.

We have the resources and the research, and most significantly the will to overcome the energy challenges we face in the UK. Within the space of a year 15 community groups in Sussex alone have joined forces to support energy savings and the devecold home2lopment of locally generated renewable energy. But those in power are sidestepping the obvious solution diverting taxpayers funds to uneconomic investments.

Instead, the government offers tax breaks for the big energy companies to build more fossil fuel plants and new nuclear.  The autumn statement promised £15billion for roads. It overhauls stamp duty ignoring the opportunity to link it to environmentally friendly buildings. Even the flood defense proposals are inadequate, according to experts. The treasury continues to endorse shale gas production, despite overwhelming public concern about safety and the impacts on land, water and air, including the emission of even more greenhouse gases.

As taxpayers we are right to have a say in where our money goes, and insist on value for money on government spending. One may ask how this major investment in roads and tax breaks for fossil fuels will meet the immediate need to address fuel poverty and its consequent pressure on the NHS.  Furthermore, how will it encourage the generation of locally controlled renewable energy which has been proven to reduce energy prices in Germany and is supported by millions of people across the country as a way of taking back control of our own energy supply and improving energy security?

 

big energy saving NetworkBHESCo, as a Champion of the Big Energy Savings Network, is now working with community groups, schools and charities to provide useful advice to people about how to stay warmer for less this winter.

Founder Director Kayla Ente has visited St Nicholas Church and Varndean School over the past month, emphasizing the fact that if you haven’t switched suppliers once your fixed contract expires, it is likely that you are paying too much on your energy bills.

At Varndean School, Kayla spoke to 20 parents about ways to prevent and treat damp, helped parents switch tariffs and helped resolve a problem a parent had with a prepayment meter. An average of £200 per household was saved just by switching energy supplier.  This can make a contribution to reducing fuel debt, providing more disposable income for families.

A week later BHESCO had a stand at the AMAZE Info Fair, where Kayla spoke to parents of children with Special Education Needs and disabilities about their energy usage, advising some about whether they were on the best tariff and about energy savings measures they can take in their homes.

More recently, BHESCo ran a workshop in conjunction with National Energy Action at The Space Place at the Hanover Community Centre. While the ladies were busy sewing draught excluders out of beautiful recycled fabric, BHESCo was providing knowledgeable advice and help with their energy bills.  Again, an average of £200 per year was saved on energy bills by switching to a lower tariff.

Forthcoming events on 15 December include a lunchtime presentation at AGE UK for front line workers, and on 15 January a workshop for frontline workers from Brighton & Hove County Council at the Brighthelm Centre and on 13 January at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Hove.

Look out, too, for the Older People’s forum which BHESCO are hosting at their base at the Brighthelm centre on 22 January.

 

energybillof-rightOn Monday, 27 October, Fuel Poverty Action launched their Energy Bill of Rights in Parliament to the acclaim of MPs and community groups.

BHESCo have pledged our support for the bill which campaigns for an affordable renewable energy system owned by the community, read the blog post on our website.

The launch in Parliament will be a chance for people to share their stories of when their rights to energy have been violated, listen to others stories’, share victories, and talk together about how we can put the Energy Bill of Rights into practice.  BHESCo spoke about the important contribution that Community Energy Groups can make to securing a safe, clean and secure energy future, reviewing all the different options available for energy generation, inlcuding wind, solar, biomass, biofuels, tidal and wave energy.

Contact Fuel Poverty Action (fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com) to sign up to the Energy Bill of Rights and join the Facebook event here.  

Please contact your MP to support Early Day Motion number 395 that was put forward by Caroline Lucas, our local MP.

 

energybillof-rightFuel Poverty Action (FPA), is a grassroots campaign made of up a group of ordinary people who have had enough of the for-profit, fossil fuel based energy system dominated by the Big Six and are fighting to give the power back to communities.

By applying pressure to energy companies and politicians, FPA campaigns for warm, well insulated homes and clean, affordable energy that meet the needs of the community. FPA represents those who are fed up with being robbed by greedy energy companies through spiralling bills, rip-off prepayment meters and soaring profits.

In the winter of 2012, 30,000 people died of winter cold in the UK.  According to Age UK, 90% of these deaths were people over 60 years old.  Fuel poverty, occurs when people can’t afford to heat their homes. This can be related to the hardship that the older generation suffered during the war, so they try endure the cold winter temperatures which creates deadly health problems.  Millions more people have struggled to find the money to pay bills or top up prepayment meters. Rising prices are putting millions of people in fuel debt meaning they cannot switch supplier to get a lower tariff, or were forced to have prepayment meters installed in their property at their own cost.  The spiral effect of continued higher than necessary prices has a huge impact on the fuel poor.  As a result millions of people will worry about they are going to heat their homes this winter.

In response the FPA have developed the Energy Bills of Rights, an eight point list outlining the rights of us all, in regard to energy and living in a warm, comfortable home. The Energy Bill of Rights aims to give everyone confidence to fight for a fairer, affordable, sustainable energy system owned by us, not by foreign corporations. FPA will support collection action to demand for their rights, through sharing knowledge and organising events. The FPA are encouraging as many individuals and organisations as possible to sign up and show support for the bill and ditching the Big Six, a movement which BHESCo positively supports.

Read the Energy Bills of Rights and the energy mini-guide (http://www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/FPA-mini-guide.pdf) from FPA, which has been developed to provide advice for those struggling with energy bills.

BHESCo has shown support for the Energy Bill of Rights through the following statement:

Large energy suppliers, many of which are foreign owned,  dominate the market and reap unjust profits, by exploiting vulnerable or uninformed people. Home owners, tenants, landlords and business across the country must make properties more energy efficient, more comfortable places to live and work, and to supply affordable heating in their properties. BHESCo is committed to helping to combat fuel poverty in the community of Brighton & Hove, reducing energy usage and bills, making homes and businesses more energy efficient and generating energy from clean, renewable sources. We along with other social enterprises in our industry recognise that this is the most economically beneficial alternative which is why we wholeheartedly support Fuel Poverty Action’s Energy Bill of Rights. We will help bring about community action, community generation and control to individuals to ensure a secure, sustainable and clean energy future.  We are working to introduce our own community energy tariff to help protect our community from paying too much for their electricity and heating.


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