Councils slam free energy-saving light bulbs giveaway

Moves by power companies to meet targets on reducing household energy use by just handing out energy-saving light bulbs are an "outrage", council leaders have said.

Moves by power companies to meet targets on reducing household energy use by just handing out energy-saving light bulbs are an "outrage", council leaders have said.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said commitments set by the Government for energy suppliers to cut the emissions coming from people's homes were too easy and needed toughening up.

At the moment energy companies are meeting their commitments under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (Cert) scheme mostly by sending homeowners energy-saving light bulbs which the LGA said only saved consumers around £3 a year each.

Instead they should be insulating more people's lofts and walls, which could save householders around £220 a year, reduce the number of people in fuel poverty and boost "green" British jobs.

Paul Bettison, chairman of the LGA's environment board, said: "The failure of energy companies to really help householders cut their fuel bills is an outrage.

"Energy suppliers should be filling our lofts and walls with insulation, not filling our cupboards with light bulbs."

He said companies were handing out low energy light bulbs at such a rate that 280 million - or 11 per household - would have been given out by 2011.

But home insulation was a much more effective way to cut fuel bills, he said.

And with consumers paying for the Cert scheme through a supplement on energy bills, suppliers had "a duty to do what's best for people and the environment, not what's cheapest and most convenient for them", he said.

The LGA called for the Government to toughen up the targets to make companies insulate more homes, which the association said could help 1.4 million households save on their bills.

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