Proposals to cut heating charges for communal housing tenants

Barnsley Council and Berneslai Homes have completed a review into heating charges for tenants living on a district or communal heating scheme, and Cabinet will now be asked to approve a reduction of almost a third in their charges.

The council has 24 district heating schemes supplying heat and hot water to 1,209 properties across borough. These homes do not have individual boilers. Instead, heat comes from a central plant, and tenants pay for the amount of heat they use rather than for electricity or gas like in other houses and flats.

The charges are different to fuel bills as they also include scheme maintenance and management costs.

The recommendation to Cabinet is to reduce the charges by 3.1p per kilowatt hour (KW-H), from 9.5p to 6.4p per KW-H. This is a reduction of 32.6%.

Earlier this year the council committed to a review of the charges. As part of this, officers have recognised the impacts of cost of living increases such as energy, fuel, and food, which is greater in deprived communities. The government’s £20 per week cut to Universal Credit has also been considered.

If approved by Cabinet, the changes will be backdated to 1 September 2021. Residents affected will be contacted directly by letter from Berneslai Homes regarding the start date for the new Kilowatt hour (KW-H) rate, and the reimbursement.

Cllr Alan Gardiner, Cabinet Spokesperson for Core Services, said: “We should all have the best possible chance of enjoying life in good physical and mental health, and being able to keep ourselves warm is so important as we move into the colder months.

“I’m pleased to be able to recommend this reduction in the price of heating for these tenants. The 1,209 tenants on district heating schemes pay an inclusive price per kilowatt for their central heating and hot water, and I am pleased they will be able to go into the winter knowing these fixed-rate costs are reducing significantly.”

You can read the full Cabinet report here.

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