Are you struggling with fuel poverty?

Fuel poverty is a growing problem in the UK.

The latest figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show that in 2015, there were an estimated 2.5 million households living in fuel poverty – that’s 11% of the population, and represented an increase of 0.4% on 2014.

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Image of white household radiator on heat setting three.

The definition of Fuel Poverty in the UK, is defined as households that spend more than 10% of their total income on fuel use, which not only includes heating the home but also providing hot water, lighting and the use of appliances . However this doesn’t take into account the actual amount spent on fuel or the amount available to spend on fuel.

The World Health Organisation recommends 21 degrees C in the main living area and 18 degrees C in other areas to be "adequate" warmth in a home, with lower temperatures at night.

In 2008 official figures indicated that there were as many as 4.5 million households living in fuel poverty.

What causes Fuel Poverty

There are four main factors which cause fuel poverty. These are:

  1. Low household income
  2. High energy costs
  3. Poor energy efficiency of the home
  4. Under occupancy of the home

High energy prices rises, combined with recent government cuts to family income and benefits and the rising cost of living in the UK all add to the reasons why more households may fall into the fuel poverty category in the UK in the coming year.

Avoid Fuel Poverty by making sure your home is efficient

Making sure your home is as efficient as possible will help to ensure that you don’t fall into the fuel poverty category. Just simple measures such as replacing light bulbs with energy efficient ones, draught proofing windows with insulating tape or just by simply closing the curtains to prevent any draughts will also help to keep rooms warm. For more substantial measures such as loft insulation and cavity wall insulation there are grants available. Please see our Energy Grants page for more information as to what grants and help is available. Energy companies now have resources set aside to help the most vulnerable homes to try and help people rise out of the Fuel Poverty category.

Under occupancy of homes can be a strain on resources especially if there is just one person living in a large house. Single people, including pensioners, can find it more of a struggle for example than a couple to keep their home at the recommended temperature due to the constraints of one wage or pension, especially if they are on a low income or have a large house to keep warm.

The most likely groups of people that will fall into fuel poverty are those in social rented accommodation. This is mainly because this type of housing tends to be the least energy efficient.

In order to survive households need to ensure that they are doing everything they can to prevent themselves from falling into this category.

Avoid Fuel Poverty by paying as little as possible

Making sure that you are on the best available tariff for your gas and electricity, by comparing current tariffs against the tariff you are on, with your current supplier.

Click here to run an energy price comparison, and see if you could be paying less for your gas and electricity.

Les Roberts - Energy Expert at UKPower

Les Roberts - Energy Expert at UKPower

If you’ve got an issue with your energy supplier, our consumer champion Les is on hand to help. A decade in consumer affairs means Les understands how confusing energy tariffs can be, so he'll cut through the jargon to help make sure you get the best deal.