The Committee on Fuel Poverty has published a proposal for a £1.08 billion Treasury-funded household energy efficiency programme ‘Challenge Fund’.
This follows, the CFP’s Third Annual Report, which stated that current resource, programmes and policies were insufficient in meeting the Government’s fuel poverty target and corresponding milestones. It is estimated that by 2020 just over half of properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of Band F or G, will have been upgraded and therefore leave a significant proportion of fuel poor households living in inadequate homes.
The proposed Challenge Fund would run from April 2020 to April 2022 and would complement the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and the Private Rented Regulations (PRS) requiring landlords to bring properties up to a minimum of a Band E. The fund would be primarily targeted to deliver energy efficiency improvements in private sector properties, which equate to half of all fuel poor F and G homes. Households living in a Band E property will also be able to receive support in cases where ECO is not a suitable intervention. The fund would:
Assist in meeting Government targets in improving energy efficiency of domestic properties.
Identify opportunities and choices for future energy efficiency programmes.
Encourage innovation in technology and delivery.
Develop new proxies for targeting fuel poverty using data sharing powers under the Digital Economy Act. This in turn would reduce the cost of energy efficiency programmes.
2.53 million households in England are in fuel poverty. This equates to 10.9% of all households and represents a 0.2% decrease since 2016 (2.55 million).
The average fuel poverty gap, which is the amount of money a household would need to heat their home to an adequate temperature and remain above the poverty line, is £321. This is down from £333 in 2016.
Fuel poverty is highest in the private rented sector (19.4%)
Single parents are the highest proportion of households in fuel poverty (25.4%) with a fuel poverty gap of approximately £315.
92.2% of fuel poor households live in properties with an energy efficiency rating of Band E or higher.
Ofgem, the regulator for gas and electricity markets, has today confirmed its network price control methodology. The next round of network price controls, otherwise known as RIIO-2, will run from 2021 to 2026 and aims to deliver a smarter and sustainable energy network at a lower cost to consumers.
The methodology highlights the imperative role distribution networks have in supporting consumers in vulnerable situations. As such, the assistance network companies provide to consumers in vulnerable situations will increase. This includes:
Enhanced licence conditions
Incentives to ensure vulnerability is considered during customer interaction
A reform of current innovation funding and additional funds to support projects which help vulnerable customers.
Ofgem have confirmed that the fuel poor network extension scheme, which provides fuel poor households access to free or subsidised gas network connections, will continue. A re-opener will also be introduced to allow for networks to deliver energy efficiency measures, should the Government decide that networks have a role in providing such to fuel poor households.
Approximately 613,000 households in Scotland lived in fuel poverty in 2017, equating to 24.9% of all households. 7% (174,000) of these were living in extreme fuel poverty (when a household is required to spend over 20% of their income on fuel). These figures are the lowest recorded since 2005/06.
End Fuel Poverty Coalition member National Energy Action (NEA), has issued a call for evidence to better understand the successes and challenges of delivering work towards implementing fuel poverty strategies in each UK nation.
Stakeholders are invited to contribute by completing a survey. This should take no longer than 30 minutes, depending on the length of your responses and how many sections you complete. The surveys will be open until 4pm on Friday 31st May 2019.
To complete the survey for England, please click here.
To complete the survey for Northern Ireland, please click here.
To complete the survey for Scotland, please click here.
To complete the survey for Wales, please click here.
The evidence collected will contribute to NEA and Energy Action Scotland’s Fuel Poverty Monitor, an annual investigative report into fuel poverty levels in the UK and within each of the four nations. The Monitor also investigates the key policies and practices that are in place to tackle cold homes and makes country-specific and national recommendations. This years Monitor will review progress in delivering fuel poverty strategies and meeting statutory targets in each of the nations.
If you require any support in relation to the survey, please contact email@example.com.
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.