Jonathan Reynolds MP

Serving the communities of Stalybridge, Hyde, Mossley, Longdendale, and Dukinfield

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HUNDREDS of tenants across Tameside are now looking forward to lower energy bills, after landlord New Charter fitted their homes with solar panels.

The housing association has installed the panels to hundreds of properties in the past two months alone – with plans to fit panels to 4500 properties across the borough by next August.

The project has been praised by Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds, who is Labour’s Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change.

And today he joined New Charter chief executive officer Ian Munro and Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne to mark the completion of the 1000th property on Keddlestone Walk, in Denton.

The renewable technology – which generate energy from the sun – will work in conjunction with the Government’s Feed-In Tariff scheme and could cut tenants electricity bills by between £200 and £400 a year.

It’s been estimated that over the next 25 years it could save tenants around £40million – and could cut carbon emissions by 112,500 tonnes.

“This is a project that not only makes sense for the environment – it makes financial sense too,” said Mr Reynolds.

“The installation of solar panels allows tenants to generate their own energy – and by generating surplus electricity I understand they could save as much as £400 a year.

“Too often it’s those living in the rented sector that face higher energy bills because of a landlord’s failure to address heat loss.

“However this is a ground-breaking scheme that highlights the positive measures that can be adopted by responsible landlords.”

The project was made possible after New Charter Homes signed a deal worth more than £18m with solar installation partners.

Installations – which will involve New Charter’s own building company – will continue over 12 months.

Once complete New Charter Building Company is looking to undertake all on-going maintenance of the systems.

Speaking after the launch of the £18m scheme in August, chief executive of the New Charter Group Ian Munro said: “Our tenants will benefit massively from cheaper fuel bills provided by the technology while reducing our carbon footprint considerably.

“While this technology will help a large number of our tenants, we know that not all homes will be suitable, so we’re looking at other energy saving possibilities for those homes not suitable for solar panels.”

New Charter install solar panels to 1000th property

HUNDREDS of tenants across Tameside are now looking forward to lower energy bills, after landlord New Charter fitted their homes with solar panels. The housing association has installed the panels...

AS STUDENTS at Hyde Clarendon College start the countdown to Christmas, MP Jonathan Reynolds joined local councillors to give their annual pantomime a £5000 boost.

In recent years students at the college, in Hyde, have put on a show for hundreds of local schoolchildren.

And now they have started planning for a week of performances of the festive favourite, Dick Whittington, in December.

To help with the costs, councillors in Hyde have raised funds from the district assembly, local businesses and other organisations to go towards the town’s Christmas costs.

And on Friday Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds and Hyde councillors Philip Fitzpatrick and Jim Fitzpatrick handed a cheque for £5000 over to the college.

Mr Reynolds said: “The pantomime at Hyde Clarendon has now become an annual highlight for primary schools across the town – with 1000 youngsters able to watch the show every year.

“Putting on a show like this is a tremendous amount of work and I am delighted that the college has taken on the challenge yet again.

“Having the support of the district assembly and so many local businesses just shows how good its reputation is – and I can’t wait to watch it myself in December.”

In addition to the pantomime, local councillors have also raised funds for the Christmas Lights Switch On, which will include an ice skating rink in the town centre and fireworks display.

Among those who have contributed to the town’s Christmas fund are the District Assembly, the Hyde Town Team, New Charter, McDonald’s, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lee Print.

“Pantomime is one of those traditions that make Christmas a magical time for children and I am pleased the town has been able to support it,” said Hyde Newton councillor Philip Fitzpatrick.

“In recent years I’ve been really keen to make sure as many children as possible are offered the chance to go to the pantomime – and every year it has been heart-warming to see their reactions.

“This year the people and businesses of Hyde are working harder than ever to make sure there is plenty of Christmas cheer – and I think this year will be better than ever.”

Panto re-'turns again' to a Hyde college with Dick Whittington

AS STUDENTS at Hyde Clarendon College start the countdown to Christmas, MP Jonathan Reynolds joined local councillors to give their annual pantomime a £5000 boost. In recent years students at...

MANY thousands of households could be missing out on compensation from their energy suppliers, according to newly released data (October 22).

Under current rules the energy companies are expected to answer consumer complaints within eight weeks – after which the Energy Ombudsman can direct them to pay compensation.

On average, consumers who refer their complaints on to the Ombudsman receive a compensation payment of £100.

But with just five per cent of eligible customers – that’s one in 20 – actually pursuing their complaints with the Ombudsman, Labour estimates many thousands of consumers are missing out on compensation they are entitled to.

Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change Jonathan Reynolds MP says consumers deserve to receive an effective service in response to their complaints.

He believes action should be taken to ensure customers – households and small businesses - know they have the right to refer their complaints to the Energy Ombudsman. And he says action is needed to ensure consumers are not mistreated by their suppliers.

He said: “The fact that the number of complaints about gas and electricity services has shot up this year indicates that this is a market that is failing to meet the needs of its customers.

“The vast majority of registered complaints relate to billing errors – which can cause serious and extreme hardship to consumers.  Yet the energy companies are failing to deal with complaints quickly or effectively enough.

“Data suggests that many thousands of people could be eligible for compensation as a result of delays or poor customer service, but they are simply failing to claim.

“A Labour Government would take urgent action to reform the energy market – but in the meantime I would urge consumers to pursue their complaints with the Ombudsman to ensure they receive the redress they are entitled to.”

In the year 2013/2014 the most common cause of complaints to the energy companies were related to billing (82 per cent), followed by transfers (13 per cent) and then sales (3 per cent).

So far this year there have been 37,061 complaints accepted by the Energy Ombudsman. However a report commissioned by the regulator Ofgem in December 2013 concluded that just five per cent of eligible cases were referred to the Ombudsman – which means the actual number of eligible complaints could be as high as 741,220.

Last year 95 per cent of complaints to the Ombudsman were upheld – with 76 per cent receiving financial compensation too.

At the Energy UK conference today (October 22), Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary Caroline Flint, who uncovered the figures, warned that companies who repeatedly mistreat customers could lose their licences under a Labour Government.

She said: “It’s bad enough when the public have cause for complaint with their energy supplier, but for energy companies to refuse to compensate consumers or string out the complaints process for months on end is completely unacceptable.

“These figures lay bare the full scale of poor customer service and public dissatisfaction with the energy market.

“That’s why the next Labour Government will freeze energy prices until 2017, reform the energy market and create a tough new regulator with the power to strip energy companies of their licences if they repeatedly mistreat customers.”

 

MP: Energy consumers miss out on compensation

MANY thousands of households could be missing out on compensation from their energy suppliers, according to newly released data (October 22). Under current rules the energy companies are expected to...


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