Fuel poverty up yet gas is cheaper the more you use.

26th Nov 2018


I’m going to pose the industry a question, not sure of the answer I’ll get and I’m doing so at the risk of causing some discomfort. But, eh, that’s what blogs are for. I’ll start with the latest Annual Report by the Committee on Fuel Poverty. It didn’t make much noise, politicians are tied up with something called Brexit I’m told. But in ordinary times, it would have.

English fuel poverty levels are up 9 per cent, from 2017, to 2.55 million households. The estimated cost of upgrading the energy efficiency of fuel poor homes is also up, now standing at £17 billion (that’s not small change). So what hope for the fuel poor? The fuel poverty gap has come down to £326 a year, so if only something could be done to reduce that further?

Now I confess to watching the US TV series NCIS. The lead character, Gibbs, is often quoted as saying “there’s no such thing as a coincidence” so just by chance, EUA’s monthly gas bill arrived. And I thought, I wonder what would happen if the tariffs we pay are applied to a domestic customer?

Using the Ofgem medium Typical Consumption Value of 12000 kWh and applying this tariff with a similar one offered by the same supplier in the same postcode threw up some startling figures.

The “domestic” cost, usage plus standing charge, came to £588.66 a year; whereas the “non-domestic tariff” applied to domestic usage, gave an annual bill of just £352.20. That’s right, a whopping saving of £236.46 or 40 per cent. Yes, two-thirds of the way to meeting the fuel poverty gap.

So, in the absence of any other scrutiny and on behalf of the 2.55 million fuel poor households, my question is “why”?

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CE