Fuel poverty matters, our industry knows this

30th Sep 2019

 

The BEIS consultation on the Fuel Poverty Strategy for England has now ended. Like many other bodies, EUA submitted our response (if you want to see a copy just ask).

Our industry understands fuel poverty better than most. Not only that, despite what some people think about the ‘big, bad energy corporates’, from what I have witnessed, the senior figures in our industry want to do more to tackle the problem. I’ve seen them show genuine anger and frustration when policymakers and regulators make it more difficult to deliver fuel poor schemes. So our voice should be at the heart of future policy.

Now the changes being proposed by Government are important. Widening the definition of fuel poor to include a greater focus on low energy efficiency may increase the numbers from 2.55 million households to 3.66 million but it does focus attention on delivering permanent improvements to the energy efficiency of the home.

Recognising what is known as fuel poor churn, where a household moves into and then out of, then back into fuel poverty is an important step to providing that long term solution. For me, it also challenges the Ofgem decision to remove the IMD index as criteria for network action to a more precise target, especially if that target is subject to churn and eligible one week but not the next.

We’ve also argued that gas-based heating systems should be an integral part of the mix of solutions offered. With greening the gas network a key target of the government, and gas being considerably cheaper than say direct electric heating, then it is a no-brainer to see first-time gas central heating up there as a recognised and viable policy option.

Living in a warm, comfortable home isn’t a luxury – well it shouldn’t be. It should be what marks us out as a developed nation. Our health and well-being is impacted by the environment we live in. A cold home isn’t what we want for our own families and it shouldn’t be allowed for others. My guess is that readers of this blog totally get that. Let’s hope the Government does too.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO