Over 3,000 households across the borough will be affected
Heating cost set to rocket from this April
January 31, 2023
Wandsworth Council will more than triple weekly heating and hot water bills as inflation and rising costs squeeze the authority’s budget. The council has also voted to increase the number of estate managers who repair and fix homes in the borough.
The charges hike had already been approved by the council’s housing committee and the executive gave the final green light on Monday, 30 January. It means charges for heating and hot water from the council’s communal boilers will rise by 270 per cent from 3 April for the 2023/24 financial year – an increase in average charges from £6.28 to £22.67 per week.
The rise in charges reflects the higher prices being charged by the council’s energy supplier LASER which has increased by an average of 270pc for council buildings since October 2022, according to a council report.
The report adds, “Despite this increase, the deficit on the heating and hot water account is still expected to increase by the end of 2023/24 to £3.36 million. It will then be necessary to carry forward a deficit on the heating and hot water account, which will then be recovered over several years.”
The council runs 50 communal boiler schemes which supply centralised heating and hot water to 3,453 households in estates across Wandsworth. The authority said the charge impacts 1pc of the total residents in the borough.
The executive also approved plans to increase the number of estate managers supporting council tenants on Monday. This means two estate managers will each be added to the four area housing teams, who repair and manage 29,597 homes in total.
A council report says the extra resources will “support the better management of the estates at a time of significant challenge, recognising the raised profile of social housing in society and a call for a greater estate management presence on the estates”.
Additional plans to hike council housing rents by 7% from April 3 for the 2023/24 financial year were also green-lit by the committee. The proposal will now go to full council on 8 February for the final decision. Non-residential charges are also proposed to increase by 7% – including those for garages, parking lots and store sheds.
Labour councillor Aydin Dikerdem, cabinet member for housing, previously said, “Inflation and the huge rise in prices has posed a real challenge to the housing department. But the proposed below inflation rise will enable Wandsworth to meet its costs, as well as improving and expanding a high-quality and responsive service for our tenants, and support the investment in more estate managers and the delivery of much-needed new council housing for our borough.
“We are acutely aware of the impact the current cost of living crisis is having on our tenants and residents and we will continue to provide support, including financial support, to those in most need.”
Charlotte Lilywhite - Local Democracy Reporter