Victory for residents as housing association replaces boilers

By Matthew Bates Friday 31 May 2013 Updated: 31/05 16:01

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Buy photos » Residents joined Coun Ed Ruane and Geoffrey Robinson to call on Accord to replace the boilers and reduce their energy bills. 19.013.009.cov.nc1

FAMILIES in Tile Hill suffering with spiralling energy costs will finally have their boilers replaced.

Some residents in a new estate off Torrington Avenue were forced to spend winter without heating or hot water because of the cost of their bills.

But now Accord Housing Association has confirmed residents will have their energy-efficient boilers replaced in favour of standard gas boilers in the hope of lowering costs.

A hardship fund has also been set up to help compensate residents who have paid out more than they should have.

The company has been heavily criticised in recent weeks for not removing boilers from all houses sooner but was praised this week for the change of heart.

Coun Ed Ruane, cabinet member for housing at Coventry City Council, has led the residents' fightback since hearing of the issue earlier the year.

He told the Observer: “I was delighted with the response from Accord HA.

"They were very positive about how they want to address this on-going problem and stated that they will remove the NIBE boilers at the request of tenants who want them removed regardless of the size of the property and they will be looking to make compensation payments which span over 3 years, not just the last 12 months.

"They stated that letters will be sent out shortly to all local residents confirming this and local residents meetings will be set up shortly to co-ordinate this action."

We reported last month how Coun Ruane and MP Geoffrey Robinson visited families in Robert Mounford Way and Alan Marcell Close to find out more about the problems.

And the issue was even raised on BBC's The One Show with news presenter Angela Rippon speaking to tearful parents worried how they would heat their homes.

Boiler manufacturers NIBE insist the energy-efficient technology is not the cause of the high bills and has instead pointed the finger at poor installation or under-sizing.

A spokesperson for the Accord Group said: “The Accord Group has made a commitment to replace NIBE boilers in all four and five bedroomed homes.

“In addition we will replace NIBE boilers in two and three bedroomed homes where energy bills are higher than would be expected and where tenants request a replacement.

“A hardship fund has been established to assist those affected and we have held a number of surgeries asking affected tenants to provide us with copies of their energy bills.

“To date around one third of tenants on this estate have responded to our survey and about a quarter of them have currently provided us with a full set of energy bills.

“Anyone who has not yet sent their energy bills can either email us at nibe.admin@accordgroup.org.uk or send them to NIBE Admin team, Accord Group, 178 Birmingham Road, West Bromwich, B70 6QG.”

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