National Fuel Poverty Awareness Day

Figures estimate in the UK there are 4.5 million households affected by fuel poverty, with 2.35 million of those in England [1].

The UK has a fuel poverty problem. The primary causes of fuel poverty are low incomes, high energy bills and energy inefficient homes. In the East of England there are between 7% and 13% of households who are fuel poor within the 47 localities [1].

What is fuel poverty?

A household is said to be in fuel poverty if:

  • They have required fuel costs that are above average (the national median level), and
  • Were they to spend that amount they would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line.[2]
What causes fuel poverty?

It can be caused by a number of different factors, including:

  • Low pay – low pay and rising costs of energy can force people into fuel poverty as they struggle to pay the bills. They may have to make the choice between switching the heating on, and putting food on the table.
  • Elderly – fuel consumption in older generations is higher, but they typically have a fixed income, which makes it difficult as costs rise.
  • Welfare – those who receive welfare benefits may struggle to pay their fuel bills as costs rise, and their homes may be poorly insulated too, adding to the problem.
  • Rural – suppliers may be limited in rural area, allowing for less switching and a less competitive market. The age and structure of rural houses may also mean more fuel is used.
  • Off gas – those who do not have a gas supply may find their supplier options limited, so less competitive prices. These can be oil, LPG, or electric storage heaters.
  • The property – how energy efficient a property is can significantly impact how much heat is required, and therefore the cost of the energy bill.
How can we help?

Groundwork’s Green Doctors can help to reduce bills and improve a home’s energy efficiency. Whilst switching providers often works, costs are at an all time high, so this is currently a solution (but one the Green Doctors can help with in the future). The Green Doctors can also give support to tackle energy debt, get grants and benefits to help pay the bills or make your home more energy efficient. They can also help to make sense of statements and meters.

More about Green Doctors.


[1] Fuel poverty resource 
[2] Turn2us