Wednesday, October 31, 2012
SOCIAL landlord Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association has finally agreed to replace heating systems that were costing some of its tenants a small fortune to run.
At a meeting earlier this month, the housing association pledged to rip out 43 of the 248 existing Swedish-made NIBE boiler systems at properties in Love’s Farm, St Neots.
An investigation found that the electric boilers were too small to heat the homes they were installed in, and a decision was made to replace them with gas boilers.
The company said it had received efficiency complaints from a further 68 homes and intended to install meters in those properties to measure electricity consumption. In the remaining 137 homes, where no complaints had been made, the housing association promised to visit residents and give advice on how to get the system working at its most efficient.
A spokesman for BPHA said that the company was “committed” to giving residents a cost-effective and efficient heating system.
Chief executive John Cross said in a letter to residents: “I am acutely aware of the frustration that many continue to experience. We met with resident representatives on October 2, and they are working actively on your behalf, and we thank them for their efforts.”
Mr Cross also assured residents that they would continue to receive financial support for high heating bills.
The Hunts Post reported in February how some families on the Love’s Farm estate were being forced into fuel poverty because of the NIBE units operating inefficiently.
Annual running costs had been estimated at £500 but instead some tenants were paying almost £2,000 a year – nearly double the national average.
The system works by sucking heat from waste air as it leaves the house and pumping it back to provide heating and hot water. But if it does not increase the boiler water temperature enough, an electric immersion heater kicks in, creating larger than expected electricity bills.
Mum-of-four Sam Clausson, who has been told she will get a replacement boiler before December, told The Hunts Post: “Only today I had no hot water to do the washing up and I can’t afford to put the heating on. I can’t wait be able to stop worrying about whether my electricity is going to cut off,
A NIBE spokesman said: “NIBE remains 100 per cent confident that exhaust air heat pumps, correctly installed, at the right capacity for the space, and in homes that meet the required insulation and airflow standards, work very well indeed to provide efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly heating and ventilation.”