Energy is the resource needed to give us the capacity to live and to work. It is part of the goodness of whole divine creation. In the Bible God is revealed through natural forms of energy – wind, water, fire and earth. The Word (logos) in St. John’s gospel is incarnated energy, whilst the Holy Spirit is she who energises and empowers life on Earth.
How we produce, distribute and consume energy raises deep ethical questions, especially in terms of justice and environmental damage. No means of producing energy is without its impacts, but we are only now beginning to realise the long-term consequences of some technologies. The impacts of Climate Change are a challenging example of this.
Meanwhile, some people struggle with not having sufficient power necessary for their daily lives, whether using brushwood in India or electricity in Plymouth.
Even in Britain not everybody has a warm, dry home that they can afford to heat and power. Many on lower incomes (including those dependent on state pensions) find it difficult to afford to pay their power bills and drags them into fuel poverty.
Addressing this will not only improve people’s lives but also help tackle climate change. Churches and other organisations have launched an ‘End Fuel Poverty’ campaign to press the Government and political parties to commit to a pledge to end this situation.
Devon Winter Fuel Poverty
CosyDevon is backed by nine local authorities and Devon County Council and is being delivered by the energy supplier E.ON in order to address fuel hardship this winter.
Anyone can apply – homeowners, landlords or private tenants (not only EON customers) for free or subsidised loft/wall insulation. Also for replacement boilers for those installed before 2005
These offers are open to all homeowners and private tenants regardless of income.
Call 0800 0511 548 . Lines open 9am & 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am & 1pm on Saturday.
CosyDevon uses a call centre based in Barnstaple. Or check at www.cosydevon.com
All eligible applicants will be given a FREE, no obligation Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) survey. The surveyor will visit their home to check things like their walls, loft and if necessary their boiler. The visit usually lasts 2 hours.
On completion of their EPC, if they have applied for insulation an installer will contact the homeowner to arrange a more thorough, technical survey to make sure it is fine to proceed with the work.
You can also email CosyDevon.
EDF ENERGY DEBT HELPLINE
This is a national service run from Plymouth where debt/benefit advice is provided to EDF Energy Customers. This is done over the telephone using assessors and caseworkers. Customers of EDF Energy will obtain their number from the back of bills or can be transferred or referred by EDF Energy. Customers will receive a full debt service and they will also look at ways to get clients out of fuel poverty such as ensuring they get the correct benefits, are energy efficient and also receive the cheapest tariffs and discounts that they can. Telephone: 0800 269 450 http://www.edfenergy.com/for-home/help-support/energy-bill-debt-advice
EDF also run an Energy Trust Fund: This is a project which submits applications to the EDF Energy Trust Fund. The trust fund provides discretionary grants to overcome fuel poverty such as paying off electric and gas debt, providing energy efficient white goods or providing insolvency fees. Again this is national and principally done on the phone: 01733 421060
Huge amounts of energy are wasted in our homes and workplaces, as well as in our transport and food systems. This is also true of our churches and church schools. This has both economic as well as environmental implications, particularly through growing greenhouse gas emissions resulting from burning fossils fuels.
The Diocese of Exeter has an energy statement and is actively encouraging appropriate renewable energy schemes. There are already church buildings and vicarages with solar PV installations, biomass heating schemes, composting toilets, and plug-in solar panels. Further details can be found at www.ecochurchsouthwest.org.uk
The Diocese of Exeter has had a partnership with the Devon Association for Renewable Energy (DARE) for over 15 years. Amongst other activities, DARE offer a professional energy audit and study of church buildings or schools, and have completed over 50 such surveys. These reviews provide a comprehensive assessment of that particular building and suggest ways to implement energy savings, efficiencies and the potential of renewable sources & with suggestions for taking further action.
The Diocese is also able to offer low interest loans to parishes wishing to develop their own sustainable energy projects and to switch to a green electricity and green gas supplier (with Ecotricity). Contact email for details.
In Devon there are at least five community energy companies, the largest of which has solar panels installed on 23 buildings in Plymouth. In Exeter it is hoped St. James’ church hall will become part of their community energy company.
http://www.361energy.org/361-energy/ (North Devon)
Nationally, the Community Energy Coalition is a group of trusted and influential civic society organisations and sustainable energy experts, working to help enable communities take control of their energy.
One community company is looking at installing systems on the roofs of places of worship (and not only churches)!