Worsening fuel poverty gap highlights urgent need to act

28th Jun 2018


Statistics published yesterday by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) reveal that fuel poverty rates within England are beginning to increase, and are projected to rise in the coming years.

The report shows that approximately 61,000 households in England have the most severe fuel poverty gap of £1482, demonstrating that measures to tackle the issue have been largely ineffective and many households remain extremely vulnerable.

Whilst energy pricing and stagnant wages play a role in compounding the issue, the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) believe the most impactful and long term solution to the UK’s extensive fuel poverty is to replace old, inefficient boilers and improve energy efficiency, to subsequently reduce people’s consumption of energy.

Mike Foster, Chief Executive, EUA said:

“It’s concerning to see the fuel poverty gap beginning to rise, and the recent BEIS statistics highlight the urgent need to invest in energy efficiency measures. For starters, anyone with an inefficient heating appliance should be supported by government. There are currently approximately 9 million inefficient ‘zombie’ boilers in England and, given that studies show that replacing a 70% efficient boiler could result in savings of over £300 a year, this could make substantial inroads in combatting fuel poverty.”

He added:

“Further, our research reveals that homes with expensive electric heating should be connected to the grid, where feasible, in order to reduce the likelihood of experiencing fuel poverty. Households not connected to mains gas have an average fuel poverty gap twice as large as those connected; £543 to £275. Gas connections are, therefore, an obvious way to reduce fuel poverty levels.”

Our recommendations are full explored in the EUA’s report, entitled Fuel Poverty: Ending the vicious cycle of vulnerability.’