Social Housing: We Know What It Means. Is It Time To Understand Social Energy?

bar graph showing percentage of US families that were struggling to pay for heating and cooling in 2015.
The US is not immune to the high costs of heating and cooling. In 2015 one in three households reported energy insecurity.

A considerable number of folks in the United Kingdom, as well as other European countries, have been inclined to think of the human right to adequate housing as an exercise in architecture and construction. (You know, floors, walls, windows, roofs.) The Ukraine/Russia war unmasked the folly of any such limited thinking.

Energy exports from Russia have dropped. The cost of heating and cooling housing has suddenly demanded far more attention. For the poorest, this has been particularly, even tragically, evident during the winter of 2022/2023.

Looking to ‘big energy’ for at least temporary assistance has proven absurdly optimistic. Over the last year the end-suppliers of home heating and cooling have been laughing their way to bank their profits, while working to prevent the most vulnerable from running up an energy tab they may never be able to pay off. They’ve effectively subverted the UK legal system to install new energy meters via barely legal (if even that) home invasion. Try: U.K. Human Rights??? Ten-A-Penny Warrants Authorize Thousands Of Home Invasions

How to cope then with this new energy reality for the most vulnerable in a society whose reliance upon Universal Credit that makes no allowance for extraordinary leaps in home energy costs? A recent article from Scotland expresses the ever-increasing need for some method of reconnecting the most vulnerable with a welfare system that reflects our understanding of a human right to adequate housing. Read more at Scottish Housing News: New figures reveal need for ongoing cost-of-living support for social housing tenants

Potential Solutions? Here’s one proposal from the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), which advocates a social energy tariff. How useful might such a concept be, not only in war compromised Europe and Asia?

The impact of rising energy costs worldwide has been less of a crisis in the New World which has energy supplies of its own. But we should be mindful that a global energy crisis is shifting energy harvesting away from fossil fuels and towards more renewable sources of ‘green’ energy.

North America may be currently affected by only modest rises in conventional energy costs. It is not yet living with the full cost of providing adequate housing for all. Nevertheless, methods such as the CIH’s social energy tariff may suit a current fuel shortage as well as managing the energy futures the entire world is working towards.

Read more at Scottish Housing News: CIH report highlights benefits of social energy tariff