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FUEL POVERTY IN SALFORD PENDLETON BLOCKS ‘A MATTER OF NATIONAL CONCERN’
 

Star date: 25th September 2018

'WE FREEZE IN WINTER' RESIDENT TELLS DEPUTY MAYOR

At last night's meeting of Salford City Council's Growth and Prosperity Scrutiny Panel on Tower Block Safety, a representative of Fuel Poverty Action (FPA) told the Deputy Mayor and panel of the possible 'lethal' affects of residents in the Pendleton blocks switching off their NIBE systems because they cannot afford to have them on.

"People are afraid to put the heating on at all" said the rep from FPA "It is a matter of national concern."

Full details here...


It was just over four years ago that the Salford Star first brought to light the NIBE 'environmental system' installed in the Pendleton blocks of flats that was a "potential fuel poverty nightmare waiting to happen" (see previous Salford Star article – click here).

This was followed up by more articles online and a huge spread in the Salford Star print issue in 2015* with even more articles following that, and a huge public meeting in the Broadwalk church. The issue was also brought up at the very first meeting of the Salford Poverty Truth Commission a year later, where the guest speaker was Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett (see here).

Since then the Salford NIBE system, which was supposed to solve fuel poverty by vastly reducing heating bills, has been covered by Angela Rippon's Rip Off Britain and various other media outlets. Incredibly, the issue is still ongoing.

Last week, Malus Court resident, Sam, told the Salford Star "When I first moved in I did a lot of research on it and realised straight away that this thing does not work. I watch how much energy I use all the time and write it down every day. I checked every single appliance and the NIBE on its own was using twenty units a day with temperatures outside of 15 degrees. There was nothing else on in the flat as I was just moving in. One unit per day is £5 a month on your bill, that's £100 a month...

"...So I turned it off, but left the memory on and found out it's one unit a day just for that switch, or £5 on your bill" she added "I've had them out a dozen times, they tried everything and it's still the same. It's like having the immersion heater on all day. The problem is that there's two different types of NIBE; one's an exhaust pump and one's an air pump. One works efficiently, one of them doesn't...and most of them have the wrong one."

Glynn also told the Star that he and others in the block could only afford to have the NIBE operating for 45 minutes per day...Yet, despite a deluge of tenants coming forward, the NIBEs are still in place.

Last night, at Salford City Council's Growth and Prosperity Scrutiny Panel on Tower Block Safety, a representative of Fuel Action Poverty told Deputy Mayor, John Merry, and the panel of councillors that someone could possibly die from cold, especially with the cladding and insulation problems adding to the mix...

"We're really concerned about what is happening in Salford and I've come up from London because it is so serious" she said "When people have heating problems, especially when at the same time they don't have cladding and insulation on their blocks, it can actually be lethal and cause all sort of health problems as well.

"People die from fuel poverty and the issues we've been hearing about here are absolutely appalling" she added "People are afraid to put the heating on at all. It is a matter of national concern."

A resident of the blocks also told the councillors "The NIBE systems are faulty, we cannot afford to put them on and we freeze in winter..."

A further statement and question on the NIBEs was blocked by the chair... "It's not for this meeting" she said.

After the cladding was stripped from the first three floors of the blocks, Pendleton Together kept the insulation on the sides of the buildings, with no protection from the rain, and then added cement board cladding. There's no assurance that the insulation will work with the NIBEs this winter, adding to the ongoing problems.

Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor, John Merry responded with an invitation to meet him to discuss the issue further. That's four years after the NIBE concerns were first raised...


This is Part 2 of a two part article on the Scrutiny panel meeting last night. See Part 1 – Why Has Salford Council Not Released Safety Report on Tower Blocksclick here.

Fuel Poverty Action, under the strapline 'After Grenfell – Tens of thousands at risk from fire and cold' is joining a demonstration on Wednesday 17th October at 1pm outside the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in London, as part of the campaign for Safe Cladding and Insulation. For further details see www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk


* For the electronic print issue of Salford Star featuring the NIBEs – click here

See also Salford Star article: Exposed Insulation Could Impact Fire Integrity – click here

Salford Tower Block Insulation Left Out in the Rain Despite Government Advice – click here


pete wrote
at 21:52:58 on 26 September 2018
I still have doubts about these heat pumps.Why do we not do as I suggested, then we will know for sure. I am prepared to act as an independent observer on a test trial.Steve who writes below says one thing,another person says the opposite.. we got to find the truth.
 
wrote
at 17:21:31 on 26 September 2018
Don't worry ----You will be warm enough when the cladding catches fire. I wonder how much a law suit would cost then?
 
pete wrote
at 17:21:22 on 26 September 2018
I am a spark who did not know much about heat pumps. So I asked an engineer who does, because I have always been told by my betters that if I didn't know anything,to ask people who did. I then spoke to NIBE. The problem with these things is they have to be left on all the time, to keep the cycle going. You should always keep the settings the system is set up with. If you turn it on and off, it costs more than to leave it on all the time.My own guess is that the problem here is mainly with people switching the system on and off trying to save money, or the card meter switching off. I would put my money on the card meter.Many people have these , and it should have been taken into consideration by PTOL when they put this system in .Card meters are what poor people have. Fact. I must admit NIBE were a bit vague at first when I spoke to them, and they wouldn't put me through to their engineering team. I did eventually get myself talking to their head of sales. I put his balls in a vice as it were, and he agreed ,that if anyone has any complaint about their products, they should go to PTOL and ask PTOL to ask NIBE to go to that persons flat to prove the system works ok and to show how much electricity it uses over say one week.Then we will know for sure what it costs to run. It has to be the tennant that asks PTOL and PTOL then ask NIBE. I am convinced on hearing this that only problem is that NIBE systems are not suitable for Poor people (and rich ones ) who have card meters, and PTOL should have known this. I hope I have been able to help.
 
Bob the regular wrote
at 17:20:57 on 26 September 2018
I remember the old days before the single gas fire. the old bungalow hearth grate I think they were called. a coal fire in the morning for the whole house, single glazing with rattely windows,no loft or wall insulation,leaky doors. When the old lady got the gas fire fitted, boy that was luxury. I don't remember being that cold,but I do remember the terrible fog.Getting rid of that was the only good thing our council ever did.
 
Hot air wrote
at 17:20:44 on 26 September 2018
Don't worry a Felse will be installled in Pendleton with enough hot air to fuel all the flats and some to spare. I URGE you to get one
 
Steve wrote
at 10:29:03 on 26 September 2018
The NIBES' aren't expensive to run, half the price of the old gas central heating for me.
 
bob wrote
at 07:23:41 on 26 September 2018
All the housing associations use the cheapest they can buy not matter how expensive it is to run. City West took great Gas fire out and made tenants use Electric heaters which can use up to three times more expensive to run or use the Radiators system which can cost four times the cost of a gas fire. their argument is that it warms the whole house. But the Government tell us only to heat the rooms we use. Who is right?. bring back the Gas fire or is the cost of annual service too expensive for themk.
 
Gareth L wrote
at 07:23:07 on 26 September 2018
I'm sure the residents will take up Mr Merry's offer of a meeting. His office will have the heating on!!
 
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