As of April 2019, landlords who own homes with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of Band F and G, will be required to install energy efficiency measures in order to bring the property up to a Band E. The changes are expected to affect around 290,000 properties, representing 6% of the domestic market. Householders living in these homes are expected to save an average of £180 annually. The Government’s press release can be read here.
The regulations will apply to landlords with properties in England and Wales, requiring them to spend up to £3,500 bringing homes up to a EPC Band E. However, should it cost more than this, landlords will be able to apply for an exemption.
The private rented sector has the highest level of fuel poverty, with 19.4% of households in the sector fuel poor, compared to 7.7% of owner-occupiers and the national average of 11.1%. Excess cold is the largest avoidable cause of death in this sector, with 30% of preventable winter deaths attributed to living in a cold home.
Statistics released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) reveal an increase in household energy bills in 2018.
The figures show that the average household energy bill (based on an annual fixed consumption of 3,800 kWh for electricity and 15,000 kWh for gas), increased by £65. This represents a 5.2% increase from 2017, bringing bills up to £1,314). On average, electricity bills increased by £49 and gas £16.
When based on actual annual consumption, households have seen a increase of 3.9% in cash terms (to £1,155) and a 1.9% real term increase (£1,010 in 2018) in their combined energy bills.
The figures highlight the pressing need for Government to take urgent action to tackle fuel poverty, which affects 2.55 million households in England alone.
Statistics released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, have revealed that the number of energy efficiency improvements delivered to households has fallen to the lowest level since the launch of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) in April 2013.
ECO is the Government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme which requires energy suppliers with over 250,000 domestic customers to help address fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions by providing measures to improve vulnerable households ability to heat their home. Click here for more information.
Between October and December 2018, the number of boilers installed was just 2,557, 97% less than the number installed during the same period in 2013. Furthermore, there were 6,461 installations of loft and wall insulation during the last 3 months of 2018, a fall of 98% on the installations in 2010 during this period.
Fuel poverty is influenced by poor energy efficiency of a home and with 2.55 million fuel poor households in England, these figures are disappointing.
End Fuel Poverty Coalition member, National Energy Action (NEA), have attributed the decline in installations to the Government failing to pass legislation and issues guidance in time for ECO3, which began in October 2018. NEA’s media release can be viewed here.
End Fuel Poverty Coalition members E3G and National Energy Action (NEA) have revealed that more than 17,000 deaths last winter were due to cold housing conditions. This is twice as many people who died in winter 2016/17.
In 2017/18 there were 50,100 excess winter deaths (the number of deaths between December and March compared to those outside of these months) in England and Wales. This is the highest on record since 1975/76.
The findings have been released on Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, a nationally recognised day to raise awareness of fuel poverty and the importance of living in a warm and safe home.
Fuel poverty is the condition by which a household is unable to afford to heat their home to an adequate temperature. This is influenced by three factors; low-incomes, high energy costs, and energy inefficient housing.
A shocking 4 million UK households are in fuel poverty and living in cold, damp and unsafe homes. The effects of such can be detrimental to people’s health, quality of life and wider communities. This includes negative impacts to physical and mental health, increased social isolation, poorer educational attainment and reduced economic productivity. Our health services spend £3.6 million every day treating the effects of fuel poverty and 15,000 of the 50,100 excess winter deaths last year were attributed to cold homes.
How can I get involved?
Supporting Fuel Poverty Awareness Day is easy! Here are a few ideas on how you can get involved:
Show your support on social media using the hashtags #FuelPovertyAwarenessDay and #WarmSafeHomes. Make sure you are following the EFPC (@EndFuelPoverty) to keep updated!
Change your profile picture on Twitter to the Fuel Poverty Awareness Day logo.
Read and share NEA’s Warm and Safe Homes Action Guide available to download here.
Take part in the Nations Biggest Housewarming by hosting your own fundraising event. This might be a bake sale, fancy dress day or a dinner party. Click here for more information on how to register your event. Don’t forget to share any photos from your event on Twitter using the hashtags #neahousewarming or #neamugshot!
Find out more about Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on NEA’s website.
Ofgem, the regulator for gas and electricity markets, has today announced an increase to the cap on default and pre-payment meter tariffs.
First introduced on 1st January 2019, the energy price cap set a limit on a unit price of energy and a maximum standing charge. This meant energy suppliers had to charge consumers a price either at the level of or below the cap. As a result, consumers were expected to save an average of £76 annually.
However, as a result of higher wholesale energy costs, Ofgem has increased the level of the cap. The new cap will come into effect on 1st April 2019, under which the default tariff price cap will increase by £117 annually and the pre-payment meter cap by £106.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics today estimate that in 2017/18 there were an estimated 50,100 excess winter deaths (the number of deaths between December and March compared to those outside of these months) in England and Wales. This is the highest on record since 1975/76.
15,000 of these deaths are thought to be linked to living in a cold home. These deaths were avoidable and could have been prevented.
Jenny Holland, Chair of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition (EFPC) said:
“These figures are deeply shocking. We saw a staggering 40% leap in excess winter deaths last year compared with the number over the previous 5 years. There are many causes for these extra deaths, but over a third of them will have been related to living in a cold home.
“Every one of these preventable deaths has a tragic human story behind it. We call on Government to take urgent action to deliver the energy efficiency improvements to people’s homes that are so sorely needed. This will help alleviate winter pressures on GP surgeries and hospitals by tackling the avoidable illnesses and health problems linked to living in a cold home.”
Ofgem, the regulator for gas and electricity markets, has announced the level and timing of the price cap on default tariffs. This will mean energy suppliers will be required to reduce their prices to either the level of, or below the cap. Ofgem’s announcement can be downloaded here.
The cap will come into effect on 1st January 2019 and will be set at £1,137 for a typical dual fuel customer who pays by a direct debit. Consumers are expected to save an average of £76 each year, with this increasing to £120 for those on the most expensive tariffs. Those customers who are in receipt of the Warm Homes Discount but do not have a prepayment meter will be placed onto the default price cap and no longer on the safeguard tariff.
Members of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition have issued individual responses to Ofgem’s announcement. You can read these by clicking on the member’s name; Citizens Advice and National Energy Action.
The Government has today announced new energy efficiency regulations under which landlords are required to spend up to £3,500 installing energy efficient measures into the lowest energy performance rated properties (F and G).
Jenny Holland, Chair of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said:
“Over 45% of households living in F-and G-rated privately rented homes are fuel poor. These are homes that are cold, draughty and damp. Today’s announcement – that landlords will have to spend up to £3,500 to improve them – is a step in the right direction, but a minor one.
“According to the Government’s own figures, a cost cap of £3,500 will mean that over two-thirds of these cold, unhealthy homes will fail to reach energy band E. We are very disappointed that the Government failed to heed our call for a £5,000 cost cap, which would have improved far more homes and given hard-pressed households much greater bill savings.“
The End Fuel Poverty Coalition (EFPC) has responded to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)’s call for evidence on Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). These are used to measure the energy performance of a building and are an imperative tool in promoting a buildings energy efficiency.
The EFPC’s response focuses on the role of EPCs in the private rented sector, particularly houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). Energy efficiency problems, such as damp and unhealthily low temperatures, are more prevalent in HMOs, with these properties often occupied by vulnerable people. However, the domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) only apply to HMOs with an EPC, of which there is no obligation for an EPC to be obtained for individual self-contained units with a property.
We welcome the Government’s recognition that the exclusion of HMOs from the Private Rented Sector Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) should be addressed. The EFPC advocates for the introduction of a requirement for an EPC for the whole building to be produced when a single unit in the building is marketed for rent and strongly endorses that MEES and EPCs are better aligned.