What is Fuel Poverty?
Fuel poverty is currently recognised as a situation where a household spends 10% or more of its overall income on sufficiently lighting and heating a home to 21°c in the living room and to 18°c in all other rooms.
The NRFC was instrumental in developing this definition which was enacted in law in 2001. The UK Government is currently reviewing the definition of fuel poverty following a twelve-month review by Professor John Hills. The NRFC believes that any new definition must enable the lowest energy tariffs and energy efficiency measures to be easily targeted at those households that are most in need. For more details on the NRFC’s current programme of work to develop its own new fuel poverty definition please contact Hugh at [email protected].
How Many People Does Fuel Poverty Affect?
It is estimated that around five million households in the UK are now in fuel poverty which equates to almost 20% of all British households. A recent study found that the UK has the worst levels of fuel poverty in Western Europe and, with Ofgem suggesting that wholesale prices could rise 18% by 2018, there is a real need for action to simplify gas and electricity tariffs, help households to use their houses more efficiently and invest in the energy efficiency of homes across Britain.
How Can I Lower My Energy Bills?
1. Self help
There are many ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home, some of the more affordable options include; insulating your boiler with a cover; placing reflective blankets behind radiators; purchasing an eco head for your shower; placing draft excluders on external doors; buying energy efficient light bulbs; installing a Smart Energy Meter to understand and control more of your energy consumption. For more information on conserving energy, click here (Energy Saving Trust tips link).
2. Best tariff
Are you on the best energy deal? If not, then, you may wish to consider switching providers as many energy companies only offer their best tariffs to new customers and you may also be eligible to be on a social tariff: .
A very effective way of getting the best deal for you on your energy is to join with other members of your community in a collective switching scheme. For more information please go to www.communityenergy.info or www.cheaperenergytogether.org . Alternatively, contact [email protected] for more information.
3. Insulation and renewables
If you are a homeowner – or gain the permission of your landlord – there are several ways in which you can acquire funding for some of the more expensive energy efficiency improvements. These improvements might include; loft & cavity wall insulation; draught-proofing; double glazed windows; renewable energy technologies such as wind turbines or solar panels; new energy efficient boilers. Funding for such improvements can be made available through schemes such as the ‘Green Deal’, Energy Company Obligation and ‘Warm Home Discount’ and you may even be able to make some money by selling the energy from your renewable technologies back to the national grid. For more information contact www.CO2Sense.co.uk or www.cse.org.uk
Equally, if you are struggling with your fuel bills then you may be eligible for grants to help you cover the cost of your fuel bills. To see which grants you could be eligible for, visit the Energy Grants Calculator.