MSPs must act to help end cold homes crisis

Members of the Scottish Parliament have been urged to put political differences aside to unite in support measures that will help end fuel poverty.

In a letter sent to all MSPs, politicians have been asked to ensure the next First Minister does not abandon government policies which could help end the cold damp homes crisis.

For over 400,000 Scots, their homes are almost uninhabitable due to the cold and damp

The letter, signed by leading civil society organisations and coordinated by the End Fuel Poverty Coalition and Energy Action Scotland, warns that among the most vulnerable, the crisis is even worse. 

New figures from research among Social Workers Union members has found that 69% of Scottish social workers have seen the people they support living in cold damp homes.

The letter states that the health complications of this are potentially serious: “Everyone remembers the tragic case of Awaab Ishak, but people young and old, with disabilities or with a range of health conditions are at risk.”

The campaigners have demanded that MSPs from across all parties to unite in support of:

  1. A Heat in Buildings Bill which is ambitious in its vision for improving the energy efficiency and insulation of the nation’s homes and contains a clear fuel poverty duty enshrined in the legislation.
  2. The current Housing Bill that will enhance tenants’ rights and provide financial protections for tenants during the ongoing cost of living crisis.
  3. Additional Government support in future budgets and legislation to help households cope with the cost of living crisis.
  4. Reintroducing the Fuel Insecurity Fund to help at least those most at risk of harm and struggling in energy debt.
  5. The new Pension Age Winter Heating Payment being fundamentally better targeted than the Winter Fuel Payment that it replaces.
  6. A strengthened framework of support for the renewables and offshore wind sectors and the fastest possible “just transition” for the oil and gas sector, as described in the Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, commented:

“Any further delays to boosting energy efficiency plans, protecting tenants rights and organising financial support for the most vulnerable will hit households hard.

“We need MSPs to come together and unite on a programme that will tackle the long term causes of Scotland’s cold homes crisis and provide emergency support to those most at risk next winter.”

Other groups signing the letter range from the Poverty Alliance and the Disability Poverty Campaign Group to Fathers Network Scotland, the National Pensioners Convention and Parents for Future Scotland. 

Local groups such as Aberdeen Heat & Power, East Kilbride Housing Association, Musselburgh Food Pantry, Stirling District Citizens Advice and Tighean Innse Gall have also backed the letter.

One signatory, Gaynor Allen from Sustaining Musselburgh, which is organising an event to help East Lothian residents find out how to make their homes warmer and less expensive to heat on 1st June, said:

“Everyday we hear more shocking stories of the hardships people are facing due to high energy bills and poorly insulated homes. We need both the UK and Scottish Governments to prioritise the short term and long term solutions to fix people’s cold homes.”

Warm This Winter spokesperson Fiona Waters, added:

“What voters really care about is the cost of living crisis driven by high energy bills that is still putting unbearable pressure on millions of households around the country.

“We need governments in each nation who will prioritise fixing our broken energy system by getting us off expensive oil and gas and onto cheap, homegrown renewables and by properly insulating our leaky housing stock to bring down bills for good.

“Politicians should not lose sight of that or they will pay at the ballot box.”

To read the full letter, click here.

Fuel poverty statistics reveal households hit hard by energy bills crisis

New data published by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has revealed that a surge in the numbers of households spending more than 10% of their income on energy in England.

The number of households who are required to spend more than 10% of their income after housing costs on domestic energy has risen to 36.4% of households (8.9 million households) up from 27.4% in 2022 (6.7 million).

Meanwhile, the average fuel poverty gap (which measures the additional money a household would need to be lifted out of fuel poverty) has increased by 66% between 2020 and 2023 in real terms, due to rising energy prices.

E3G UK energy lead, Juliet Phillips, explained that for those already in fuel poverty, things have got significantly harder:

“It is shameful that in a country as wealthy as England, so many households cannot afford to heat their homes to a healthy and comfortable level. New statistics show that no progress has been made in reducing fuel poverty rates in the past year, and that for those struggling to pay their energy bills, things have gotten a lot worst.

“We have seen a concerning inertia from the government over the last year on action to upgrade homes. This included a U-turn on the planned increase in energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector, and a significant under-delivery of the retrofit schemes designed to alleviate fuel poverty.

“If the UK is to have any chance of meeting its statutory target to end fuel poverty by 2030, a long-term plan is needed to rebuild confidence in supply chains: backed by investment and regulations to drive action to deliver warmer homes across the country.”

The statistics also show that households in the private rented sector are at the highest risk of fuel poverty. This follows Rishi Sunak’s U-turn on the planned uplift to minimum efficiency standards in the sector last year.

Jonathan Bean, spokesperson for Fuel Poverty Action, commented:

“Fuel poverty rates are highest in private rentals so the Government’s lack of commitment to improved standards will continue to harm millions.

“In addition, electric-only homes have the highest fuel poverty rates due to the four times higher price of electricity compared to gas, due to our rigged energy market which the Government and Ofgem have failed to reform.

“It is time to admit Government and Ofgem policies have completely failed, and a more radical solution to fuel poverty is needed – Energy For All.  This would eradicate fuel poverty now, rather than allowing millions to suffer in cold damp homes for another decade.”

The statistics show that there were an estimated 13.0 per cent of households (3.17 million) in fuel poverty in England under Ministers’ preferred measure of fuel poverty, known as the Low Income Low Energy Efficiency (LILEE) metric in 2023. This number is effectively unchanged from 13.1 per cent in 2022 (3.18 million).

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition explained the limitations of this metric:

“Even these terrible figures don’t paint the true picture of the suffering in households across the UK.

“They exclude millions of homes in certain energy performance categories, fail to take into account soaring energy costs and also don’t include many people who actually get a Warm Home Discount to help with their bills.

“The reality is that household energy debt is at record levels, millions of people are living in cold damp homes and children are suffering in mouldy conditions.

“The wider impact of high energy bills is also clear to see with households having to cut back on spending so much that the UK has now entered a recession.”

Nearly 1 in five households in the West Midlands are classed as fuel poor. Meanwhile, in the South West, it would take an extra £634 to lift homes out of fuel poverty.

The latest National Energy Action (NEA) Fuel Poverty Monitor, developed with Energy Action Scotland and Gemserv, highlighted over 3 million UK households could be left in fuel poverty by the end of the decade, despite a legal requirement for no households in England to be living in fuel poverty by 2030.

Adam Scorer, Chief Executive of National Energy Action, added:

“At this rate, the government will miss its 2030 legal fuel poverty target by a country mile and millions will be stuck unable to afford to keep their homes and their families warm and well.”

New polling by YouGov for NEA shows that three in 10 (30%) GB adults say their household has found it difficult to afford to pay their energy bills in the past three months.

This has driven many to drastic ‘not coping strategies’ with 59% of British adults saying they had turned their thermostat down lower than they wanted, while 52% turned their heating off, even though it was cold inside the house.

4,950 excess winter deaths caused by cold homes last winter

Following publication of new official data, the End Fuel Poverty Coalition has estimated that 4,950 excess winter deaths in the UK were caused by living in cold homes during winter 2022/23. [1]

Historic records also indicate that when the mean winter temperature in the UK drops below four degrees centigrade, the level of excess winter deaths sky-rockets. The average temperature last winter was 4.3 degrees. [2]

While December 2023 was exceptionally warm, average daily temperatures for the UK in January are forecast to dip as low as -1.6 degrees and fell to -14 in some parts of the UK last night. [3]

The Government continues to rely on Warm Homes Discounts, Cold Weather Payments and Winter Fuel Payments as the measures of support to households, however these are limited in eligibility and impact.

This winter the Government refused demands to support households through an Emergency Energy Tariff and a help to repay scheme for those in energy debt.

But the Government’s approach is an increasingly dangerous strategy with the effects of climate change taking hold. 

The Met Office official guidance is that El Niño winters are more likely to be colder in the UK and scientists predict that these El Niño winters could become more common as global temperatures increase. With 2023 being declared as the hottest year on record, campaigners have urged politicians to grasp the seriousness of the situation.

A spokesperson for End Fuel Poverty Coalition, commented

“Figures from the Warm This Winter campaign show that 8.3m adults are living in cold damp homes this winter and, as temperatures drop, these conditions go from being uncomfortable to downright dangerous.

“But while households struggle, Ministers are sitting on their hands and leaving matters of life and death to chance.

“Instead of taking action on energy bills, they have allowed energy firms to restart using the courts to force households onto prepayment meters and have now ruled out reform to energy tariffs to help those most in need. 

“They would rather play politics with a ridiculous Oil & Gas Licensing Bill that will do nothing to improve energy security or lower bills than take meaningful action to help households struggling right now.”

Jan Shortt, General Secretary of the National Pensioners’ Convention, which is part of the Warm This Winter campaign, said: 

“We are very concerned at the level of disinterest shown by the government in the welfare of older people at a time when the temperature is dropping well below freezing. 

“It fell as low as -14 degrees this week and even in towns and cities it does not get much warmer until later in the day. This presents a real dilemma for older people struggling with the cost of energy and other inflated bills – we know many are already afraid to turn the heating on at all. 

“Add to this the decision by Ofgem and the government to allow the force-fitting of energy prepayment meters to resume, while energy providers continue to enjoy inflated profits, smacks of abandonment of those struggling to pay their bills without any relief on the horizon.”

Greenpeace UK’s climate campaigner, Georgia Whitaker, said: 

“This is a national scandal. The UK has the least insulated homes in Western Europe. We’ve known this for years. Yet every year thousands of people are dying as a result. And our government is doing practically nothing to fix the problem. 

“Insulating homes at speed and scale right across the UK would drastically reduce these unavoidable deaths, as well as helping to tackle the cost of living and climate crises by lowering bills and slashing household emissions. But until that happens, this shameful government negligence will continue to cost people their lives, and without climate leadership the government will be punished at the ballot box.”

UPDATE: In February 2024, the ONS launched a consultation on the methodology associated with this calculation and also set out new figures for excess deaths in a particular period (rather than excess winter mortality levels as set out in the figures above). Even after these new measures are introduced, the old data which is set out above is not technically incorrect, however the metrics used for calculating the figure may be less accurate than the new measures.


[1] 2022/23 Data: ONS (for England & Wales) table 10, updated on 17 January 2024 combined with NRS and NISRA data then applying IHE methodology to estimate the number of Excess Winter Deaths caused by living in cold homes. Previous End Fuel Poverty Coalition estimates put the figure at 4,706 Excess Winter Deaths caused by cold homes.

[2] ​​Excess winter deaths caused by cold damp homes and average winter temperatures (End Fuel Poverty Coalition records)

Winter Number of excess winter deaths caused by cold homes  Mean winter temp (C) 
2010/2011 6,232 2.4
2011/2012 5,608 4.5
2012/2013 7,321 3.3
2013/2014 4,206 5.2
2014/2015     10,475 3.9
2015/2016 6,035 5.5
2016/2017 8,211 5
2017/2018     11,997 3.6
2018/2019 5,665 5.2
2019/2020 2,439 5.3
2020/2021     14,502 3.5
2021/2022 3,229 5.2
2022/2023 4,950 4.3

[3] December 2023 stats – 5.8 degrees mean:

January 2024 stats: (accessed 16 January 2024 at 1400)

Chilling figures show children at risk from mould

One in ten new or soon to be parents frequently experience mould in their homes as Britain’s energy crisis bites hard.

The new data was revealed by the Independent and is based on research for the Warm This Winter campaign and suggests that around 850,000 (9.6%) of people who have a child under 6 or who are pregnant (or their partner is pregnant) are exposed to mould frequently. [1]

The numbers increase further to 3.4m (38%) people who have frequent or occasional exposure to mould and who have a child under 6 or who are pregnant.

The tragic case of Awaab Ishak highlighted the need to take the issue of mould in UK homes seriously and the NHS advises all young children to be kept away from damp and mould.

Not only does damp and mould produce mould spores and other toxins that are harmful to health, but even excessive moisture can lead to the growth of mould and other fungi, certain species of house dust mites, bacteria or viruses. 

Rachel Kirby-Rider, Chief Executive at Young Lives vs Cancer, explains: 

“No child should be living in damp or mouldy housing, but for some of the children and young people with cancer we support, this is the reality. For them, the risk of infection is high, and living in a house that is damp or has mould increases this infection risk and other health impacts, leading to hospital admissions or worse. 

“It is vital that the government takes action to make sure that children and young people with cancer have warm homes, free of mould, that are a safe haven for them during their treatment.” [2]

The Government warns that the “more serious the damp and mould problem and the longer it is left untreated, the worse the health impacts and risks are likely to be.” The solutions to mouldy damp homes are insulation and better energy efficiency of buildings as well as access to cheaper renewable energy.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, commented:

“These chilling findings underline why we need further urgent action from the Government to step in and help households stay warm this winter. 

“Vulnerable households, including young families and expectant mothers, are struggling because of Ministers’ failure to provide emergency financial assistance this winter and longer term failures to invest in the permanent solutions to fuel poverty, such as insulation and reform of energy pricing.

“Instead of help from the Government, in the form of an Emergency Energy Tariff for vulnerable households and a Help To Repay scheme for those in energy debt, all parents got from the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement was the cold shoulder.

“The real life impact of decisions made in Westminster are now clear to see.”

Fiona Waters, spokesperson for the Warm This Winter campaign which commissioned the research, commented:

“Families are feeling the squeeze from every direction with the lowest living standards since records began and the poorest and most vulnerable in society bearing the brunt of sky high energy bills which will be increasing again in January.

John McGowan, General Secretary of the Social Workers Union, commented:

“Across the country social workers report seeing families struggling in living conditions that are more like Victorian novels than modern day Britain. It’s clear that households – especially those most at risk from the health complications of living in cold damp homes – need more support.”

Jonathan Bean from Fuel Poverty Action added: 

“We’ve long argued that young children must be protected and kept warm in the winter. This is why the energy industry’s rush to start forcing households with children over the age of two onto prepayment meters, which can click off and leave people without energy, doesn’t make any sense.”


[1] Methodology note: Opinium conducted a nationally representative survey among 2,000 UK Adults from the 24th – 28th November 2023. Results were weighted to be nationally representative. Population estimates based on ONS projections of adults aged 18+ for mid-2021 (the latest figures available), i.e. UK 18+ population 53,188,204.

[2] Young Lives vs Cancer Social Worker Rebecca recently blogged about the poor quality housing issues faced by some children and young people with cancer.

Call for Help To Repay scheme as energy bills debt soars

An estimated 5.5 million UK adults are now in energy bills debt, according to new research from the Money Advice Trust.

The latest findings confirm the heavy toll that high energy bills are taking on household finances with 2.1 million more people in energy arrears in April 2023 than in March last year and millions struggling to access help from their energy suppliers.

The figures are also more than previous data from the Warm This Winter campaign suggested earlier this year.

In the wake of the research, the End Fuel Poverty Coalition has joined forces with Money Advice Trust, StepChange Debt Charity, Warm This Winter and other organisations to ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero to set up a ‘Help To Repay’ repayment-matching scheme.

Campaigners believe this will provide a safe route out of debt for struggling households.

The Money Advice Trust research finds that millions more households were struggling with their energy costs in April than in March 2022, with support from energy suppliers – which is vital to help them repay arrears – proving difficult to access.

While support is available from energy providers for people who are struggling, an estimated 3.9 million people (7 percent) said they have not been able to access help for their bills after contacting their suppliers for support.

A further 3.2 million people (6 percent) reported not being able to get through and contact their supplier for help when they had tried to do so.

Joanna Elson CBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline and Business Debtline, said:
“Energy bills might finally be falling – but for millions of households, the effects of this cost of living crisis are already baked in. With more people falling behind on energy and other essential bills and millions facing unaffordable demands for repayment, we need urgent action to make sure everyone has access to a safe route out of debt.

“The government has already provided substantial support to help with the cost of living – but no-one should underestimate the scale of this continued crisis.

“The Help To Repay payment-matching scheme we are proposing will help those who otherwise will simply not be able to dig themselves out of the energy arrears that this crisis has created. And for those most in need, the government should introduce an Essentials Guarantee to link the rate of Universal Credit to cover the cost of essential goods like food and energy.”

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition commented:

“Energy debt is surging to unprecedented levels and it’s clear that households are just unable to cope.

“The majority of this new debt is caused by the record high energy prices which have caused misery for millions, but generated excess profits for the firms involved in Britain’s broken energy system.

“Rather than end the Windfall Tax early, as the Government plans to do, it should instead look at how this could be used to help get those people suffering back on an even keel.

“Not only would this help reduce levels of fuel poverty now and into next winter, but it will also help wider household finances, ensuring people no longer have to cut back on essentials.”

Research by the University of Bristol has found only 26% of households have not had to take measures to cut back on spending and the majority of people are now taking steps to cut costs in one or more areas.

A third (35%) were not able to afford a healthy balanced diet at least once in the past month and one in five of those in serious financial difficulties had not eaten for a whole day at least three times during the last month.

Free, expert advice is available from charity-run services like National Debtline.

Help To Repay logo

Full detail of the Help To Repay proposal submitted to the Government can be read online:

Energy Bills Support Scheme gaps hit areas of high fuel poverty

New analysis of Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) data reveals that in some areas of the country more than one in twenty payments were not delivered or vouchers left redeemed. 

Regional data from the first five months of the scheme has revealed the areas with the highest rates for missed payments are some of the areas hardest hit by fuel poverty.

These include the London Borough of Brent where 6.62% of payments have not been delivered or redeemed, Birmingham (4.68%), Stoke (4.00%), Wolverhampton (4.26%), Coventry (3.86%) and Sandwell (4.21%).

Rural areas are also hit with poor delivery rates, such as Na h-Eileanan Siar (4.86%), Pendle (4.28%) and even Rishi Sunak’s own backyard of Richmondshire (4.08%, which equates to £285k still owed to his constituents by energy firms). 

In Scotland, the Herald reports that that the value of these missed payments tops £29m. In cities like Birmingham, Glasgow and Leeds, the value of these missed payments are over £4m a piece.

Data for the full scheme also reveals that energy firms still owe £241m to households through the support scheme, a majority of that being through unclaimed PPM vouchers with new figures expected to be published next week.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, which is part of the Warm This Winter campaign, commented:

“Since the initial revelations about the missing payments, it is welcome that energy firms have made more effort to track down customers and deliver payments to them, but this work must continue until they have exhausted every avenue to get money into the hands of people who need it.

“However, what is very concerning about these figures, is that the Energy Bills Support Scheme is not getting through to the very areas of the country which need it most.

“In towns and cities, which will also be the battlegrounds in the next general election, households have been left in the cold this winter as payments are not getting through and vouchers are left unredeemed. 

“But even in rural areas – where many homes have also suffered from delays in payments not shown in these figures by being offgrid – there are still massive gaps in the support getting through.

“If anyone feels they have missed out on Energy Bills Support Scheme payments they should contact their energy firm immediately.”

Frazer Scott, CEO of Energy Action Scotland, said:  

“It is simply disgraceful that so many households have been failed by Government support. The EBSS vouchers expire in June and it is now unlikely that most of these households will now receive some or all of the £400 to which they are entitled. 

“People will have simply gone without heat and power across the coldest months putting their health and wellbeing at risk. It is made all the more difficult due to the credit holding limitations of older prepayment electricity meters. This ranges from £99 to £250 depending on your meter and supplier. The larger the outstanding voucher value, if you have it, the more difficult it may be to apply it.  

“Those living in rural areas face even more barriers to accessing the value of their vouchers with many having to pay significant travel costs to access their local post office or other redemption point. 

“It isn’t right that those in the lowest incomes are enduring yet another unfairness in a system that for the majority, including the most wealthy of households, people with multiple homes, was provided automatically.”

Any money unclaimed by the public or undelivered by the energy firms is due to be returned to the Government after deadline for claims to the scheme ends in June.


Full Data Set Available: EFPC April energy-bills-support-scheme-gb-payments-april-2023

Energy firms set for profits boost from fixed tariffs

Research from Future Energy Associates has estimated that two energy firms that have offered new fixed tariffs are set to rake in an average of £484 and £469 respectively in profit on each customer. [1]

The profits will be driven by energy firms buying energy at a fixed cost and selling it to customers at a level below the current Energy Price Guarantee (EPG), but above the likely level of energy bills when the Ofgem price cap comes back into force for consumers from 1 July.

Analysts predict that based on an average household bill under the expected Ofgem Price Cap of £2,064 [2], customers who switch to the deal will lose out by £212 on the Ovo fix or £197 on the SSE offer compared to sticking to the Government’s EPG rate and then moving to a variable tariff governed by the Ofgem price cap from 1 July. [3]

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition which is part of the Warm This Winter campaign, commented:

“The Wild West of the energy market is back, with energy firms trying to make a quick buck from people’s confusion with their energy bills.

“They are playing on the cost of living crisis to try and tempt customers onto a deal that offers security, but appears to come at a very high price to their pocket. People continue to be penalised by Britain’s broken energy system.”

Clem Atwood from Future Energy Associates, commented:

“After record breaking power prices of last winter we are now seeing forward electricity prices come down, meaning suppliers are now paying less for power than accounted for by Ofgem’s price cap.

“While costs continue to come down, suppliers will look to exploit consumer desires to move onto lower rate tariffs by trying to fix customers at close to current rates. Our analysis of costs shows that recent fixed tariffs are likely to make suppliers around 20% profit, whilst fixing customers at unit rates above the forecasted Ofgem price cap.”

Tessa Khan, executive director of Uplift, said:

“Energy companies are addicted to trying to make eye-watering profits at every turn. Having raked in billions in a matter of months from both government support schemes and the pain felt by businesses, they are now starting to turn again to our energy bills.

“It is yet another sign that the government needs to step in and fix the UK’s broken energy system. We need a complete overhaul of the system, including switching to cheaper renewables and funding for insulation, not a return to the bad old days of profiteering energy firms ripping us off.”

Jacky Peacock, Head of Policy at Advice for Renters, commented:

“Many of the families we assist have restricted their energy use to two hours a day and may well think that the fixed price guarantee will result in a saving.  We’ll be doing our best to warn them to avoid such offers which are little short of scams.”

Ruth London from Fuel Poverty Action added:

“After all the misery suppliers have inflicted on their customers – unpayable bills, break-ins to impose unwanted prepayment meters, ill health, and cold, dark homes – is this a time for dirty tricks? The suppliers are playing on people’s fears and when we can’t pay their inflated prices we will be blamed and punished for going into debt.”

Notes to Editors

The content of this story is provided based on the assumptions below and the analysis by energy data experts. It should not be taken as formal financial advice. The prices of energy are correct at the time of analysis and may change considerably from the predictions made here.

[1] Tariffs examined: Ovo 1 year fix and SSE 1 Year Fix v28. Supplier Profits Calculated Utilising Comprehensive Methodology from Future Energy Associates (FEA), outlined below. In order to evaluate supplier profits, a comprehensive methodology was employed, which encompassed several steps as detailed below:

  • Firstly, the FEA collected electricity forward prices for a 12-month period, which is the level an energy supplier could be expected to pay for the energy they then re-sell to domestic customers.

  • Subsequently, electricity wholesale prices were calculated for each quarter, with both seasonal fluctuations and peak/base prices taken into consideration.

  • These wholesale prices were adjusted according to each of the non-wholesale price components present in a typical household bill. The analysis differentiated between components that adapt to decreasing wholesale prices and those that remain fixed, irrespective of wholesale price fluctuations.

  • Following this, electricity retail price unit rates were calculated by multiplying the annual Ofgem consumption values and standing charge forecasts. This process yielded the electricity portion of the household bill.

  • With respect to gas, the same difference ratio between gas and electricity prices, as derived from Cornwall Insight’s price cap forecasts, was assumed.

  • Lastly, gas and electricity prices were combined to determine the annual household energy bills, thereby allowing for a comprehensive assessment of supplier profits.

A chart is available which shows that, for the average household, fixing now would result in a higher bill. This model assumes that the whole difference between the cost to the consumer and the cost to the supplier is profit. This assumption is a fair one as Ofgem and suppliers regularly correspond on the costs incurred by suppliers in delivering supply to consumers, which Ofgem then reflects every quarter in its price cap calculations (and therefore has been reflected in the operating cost assumptions made by this model). This process ensures energy firms should not be subject to significant operating losses on providing domestic supply.

Future Energy Associates calculations showing that fixing now would result in a higher bill (red bars) compared to the expected Ofgem price cap from 1 July (which limits what energy firms can charge, grey bar). Because the energy firm is able to buy energy a lot cheaper (green bar) this helps to generate excess profits for the supplier. This model assumes that the whole difference between the cost to consumer and the cost to supplier is profit. This assumption is a fair one as Ofgem and suppliers regularly correspond on the costs incurred by suppliers in delivering supply to consumers, which Ofgem then reflects every quarter in its price cap calculations (and therefore has been reflected in the operating cost assumptions made by this model). This process ensures energy firms should not be subject to significant operating losses on providing domestic supply.This is summarised in the table below.

OVO, SSE Case Study (all numbers are GBP)

Tariff Names

OVO 1 Year Fixed 23 March 2023

SSE 1 Year Fixed v38

Annual Costs to households £



Ofgem Price Caps / EPG

Forecasted Average Ofgem Price Cap (01/04/23 – 30/0304/24)

See note [2]

Annual Costs to households £


Tariff Names

OVO 1 Year Fixed 23 March 2023

SSE 1 Year Fixed v38


Annual Excess Costs

To Households



I.e. difference between fixed tariff and average Ofgem Price Cap

Annual Supplier Costs of buying energy



Based on FEA calculations on forward energy prices when fixed tariffs announced.

Annual Supplier Profits £



See above for assumptions.

Annual Profits %



As a percentage of the cost a consumer could be paying on the Ofgem Price Cap.

[2] Based on EPG, Ofgem Price Cap and latest Cornwall Insight predictions and adjusted by FEA to take into account a full year of price cap changes and the Energy Price Guarantee operating for part of the year.

[3] A chart is available to outline the current situation for energy bills in comparison to the fixed tariffs now on offer.

Future Energy Associates predictions of the fixed tariffs now on offer compared to the Ofgem price cap / EPG. The Ovo and SSE fixed tariffs are indicated by the blue / green line as the cost paid by the consumer (based on average energy consumption). The yellow line highlights the cost of the energy expected to be paid by an energy firm offering a fixed tariff. The red line indicates the average household's energy cost if sticking with the Energy Price Guarantee and then a variable tariff capped by the Ofgem price cap.

Lords back campaigners’ call for changes to hydrogen trials

The House of Lords backed calls from campaigners to prevent energy firms from passing the cost of proposed hydrogen development onto bill payers

But they failed to back calls to ban energy firms from forcibly entering people’s homes to convert their heating to hydrogen. 

Plans are for the creation of “hydrogen village trials” which would force up to 2,000 homes in the trial area to convert their home heating and their appliances to hydrogen. The development of new sources of hydrogen were set to be paid for through a levy on households which was proposed in the Energy Bill.

Clauses also increased the powers of access granted to fossil fuel companies, which could theoretically involve forcibly installing hydrogen boilers without residents’ consent. 

On Monday (24 April), the Energy Bill passed its latest stage in the House of Lords and will now move to the House of Commons where the Government can seek to overturn amendments – and MPs can try and introduce new changes.

An End Fuel Poverty Coalition explainer on how hydrogen could impact fuel poverty levels has been produced and can now be read online for people wanting to learn more about this new development:

1.7m households in fuel poverty miss out on Government help

Almost two million households in severe fuel poverty will miss out on government help in 2023/24 according to new figures. [1]

Data produced by researchers at the University of York for Child Poverty Action Group has calculated that among those groups who will miss out are 688,000 fuel poor households with children. [2]

The figures also show that households in London, the North East and the North West are the most likely to miss out on Government help. Over 1m fuel poor owner-occupied households and over 500,000 struggling homes in the private rented sector will be among those who no longer get Government help.

The UK Government introduced new support packages for vulnerable households from 1 April 2023 to replace the Energy Bills Support Scheme and other programmes which ran over winter 2022/23. The new support includes payments of up to £900 for those households on some benefits, with the first instalments due to be paid this week.

Estimates based on Government data have also shown that over four million Energy Bills Support Scheme monthly payments of £66 or £67 from this winter had still to be made to or redeemed by households for the period October 2022 to February 2023. [3]

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, commented:

“Millions of people will be worse off in 2023/24 as energy bills remain high, but support from the Government has fallen in real terms.

“Without further Government support and rapid roll out of energy efficiency programmes, the Dickensian conditions experienced by millions this winter will be replicated again. Until Britain’s broken energy system is reformed, we will continue to see households rely on Government support to help them through the energy bills crisis.”

Professor Jonathan Bradshaw, from the University of York’s Social Policy Research Unit, commented:

“This data answers an important question because it is an indication of the limits of using the receipt of social security benefits to mitigate fuel poverty, and suggests who might be the types of household that need to be targeted in other ways, including by some kind of social tariff.”

The main reason behind households being excluded is the link between cost of living payments and mean-tested benefits. 

Alison Garnham, CEO of Child Poverty Action Group, said: 

“The Government’s one-off cost-of-living payment is welcome, but this data shows it doesn’t go far enough. Flat-rate payments leave families with children, who have higher living costs, short-changed. Increasing child benefit, which lost a quarter of its value in the last decade and goes to lower and middle income households, is the first step to making sure struggling families have enough money to heat their homes.”

Tessa Khan, executive director of Uplift which is part of the Warm This Winter campaign, added: 

“The Government’s rehashed policies on energy efficiency fall miles short of the national programme of insulation and home upgrades that is needed to solve the fuel poverty crisis in the longer term. Ministers also continue to deny communities access to onshore wind, which is among the cheapest energy sources around and a resource we have in abundance. Instead Ministers are handing billions in subsidies to oil and gas developments that won’t lower bills or boost UK energy security, as most of it is oil for export. 

“It is beyond time that this government delivered real policies that address the big issues affecting people’s lives, not least eye-watering energy bills.”


[1] PDF available to download: The figures are, if anything, an underestimate of the problem as the definition of fuel poverty used for these calculations is one of the most targeted available.  

[2] 69 per cent of the households missing out are from the bottom three income deciles, 39 per cent are families with children, 59 per cent are living in owned/ mortgaged houses, 66 per cent are income poor.

[3] Calculations and data available from: Customers affected should contact their energy firm for advice and information on how to claim these payments.

Council candidates urged to help end fuel poverty

Over half the population in England (54%) say they are unhappy or very unhappy with the level of support for energy bills which is now available. Just 12% say they are happy or very happy with the support on offer. [1]

The research from the Warm This Winter campaign comes as candidates have been confirmed for the local elections taking place across England in May.

Council candidates have been urged to sign up to a pledge to help end fuel poverty as part of their campaigns.

The pledge, created by the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, calls on council candidates to improve the energy efficiency of Council and housing association housing stock if elected.

Prospective candidates signing the pledge also commit to backing better enforcement of existing regulations on energy efficiency and property standards in the private rented sector and campaigning to reform Britain’s broken energy system.

The polling suggests that dissatisfaction with energy bills support stretches across the political divide with 43% of Conservative voters living in England, 67% of Labour voters, 57% of Lib Dems, 58% of Brexit / Reform voters and 51% of Greens unhappy with the help on offer. [2]

Councillors and council candidates can find out more about the pledge online at 

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition which is part of the Warm This Winter campaign, commented:

“While many of the solutions to Britain’s broken energy system lie at the door of the Westminster Government, local authorities also have a role to play in beating fuel poverty.

“From providing advice to residents and taking action on housing stock, to using their influence in political parties to call for change, councillors can have a powerful voice in making life better for their constituents.”

At the start of April hundreds of people took action in a mass lobby of politicians to call for change at a national level, with over 80 events taking place at MPs constituency offices across the UK calling on them to sign the Warm This Winter MP pledge.

People affected by the energy bills crisis should initially contact their energy firm or Citizens Advice for help.


This news story relates to England only.

[1] 2,196 people interviewed between 20th and 21st March 2023. Results were weighted to be representative of the GB population.

How happy are you about the level of support for energy bills from 1 April 2023?

Very happy: 2%

Happy: 10%

Neither happy nor unhappy: 25%

Unhappy: 26%

Very unhappy: 28%

Don’t know: 8%

[2] Based on self-declared 2019 voting behaviour, England-based respondents only.