We’re in a heat wave; and some of us are still in the World Cup, so why worry about fuel poverty?

2nd Jul 2018

 

No argument from me, it’s getting hot and the weather is warm too. England are progressing well in the World Cup, beating expectations with improved performances. And whisper it, a chance of succeeding. If only tackling fuel poverty was the same.

BEIS published their Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics (2016 figures) this week and they contain a mixed bag of results. The average fuel poverty gap (the amount needed to move a household from being fuel poor to not) is down to £326. But the number of households actually in fuel poverty has gone up (again). It now stands at 2.55 million households (England) up from 2.35 million three years ago, more like the performance of the Germans not World Cup winners.

Beneath the headlines are some disturbing details. For those living in a property with a fuel poverty energy efficiency rating of F and G, that’s nearly 222,000 households (that’s around half a million people) their average fuel poverty gap is over £1000 a year. Given the average English fuel bill is £1200, you don’t have to be a genius to see something is very wrong.

What annoys our industry is that we know what can make a difference and the Government are keeping our best striker on the bench. In the report it states clearly (page 29) that “households in dwellings not connected to the gas grid have an average fuel poverty gap almost twice as large as those households connected to the gas grid” – the scores, £543 v £275. Connecting to the gas grid should be a winning strategy that is encouraged by Government. At individual household levels, we see the difference stripping out old electric systems for new gas central heating brings. Like a good manager, the Government needs to tell its team to go out and play – we are just waiting for them to do so.

For fuel poverty, it isn’t all over, but it could be.

Mike Foster

EUA's Chief Executive

 

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