We want to look at what fuel poverty is, what it means to people and what help is available to help reduce fuel poverty.
What is Fuel Poverty?
Fuel poverty is when a household is unable to afford to heat their home to an adequate temperature.
In England it is estimated that 10.3% of households experienced fuel poverty in 2018 (approximately 2.40 million households)
In Wales 155,000 households were living in fuel poverty. This is equivalent to 12% of all households.
Factors that lead to Fuel Poverty
- Low income
- High fuel prices
- Poor energy efficiency
- Unaffordable housing prices
- Poor quality private rental housing
- Having other debts
- Unexpected changes in circumstances
The sad reality is a lot of people are having to make the decision of whether they should feed themselves or heat up their homes.
- 32,000 – The average number of excess deaths experienced in the UK each year between December and March. More people die from cold homes than they do alcohol, Parkinson’s Disease, or traffic accidents
- 142,280 – The number of excess winter deaths experienced in England since 2011 [source]
Where can you get help
Winter Fuel Payment (available in England and Wales)
If you were born on or before 5 October 1954 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills.
To find out how much you and how to claim please visit the government website here.
Cold Weather Payment (available in England and Wales)
There is an additional payment to the Winter Fuel Payment, called a Cold Weather Payment.
You will get this payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.
You will get £25 for each 7-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
The Cold Weather Payment scheme runs from 1 November 2020 to 31 March 2021.
For more information about this allowance check out the government website here.
Warm Home Discount (available in England and Wales)
The warm home discount is not available to everyone and is only available to assist the most vulnerable energy customers: You could potentially get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2020 to 2021 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
The money is not paid to you – it is a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between September and March
There are 2 ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme:
- you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit – known as the ‘core group’
- You are on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme – known as the ‘broader group’
Please note that different energy suppliers have different eligibility criteria, so you should check with your energy provider.
Switch to a cheaper Provider
To ensure you are getting the best deal on your energy supply, you should be checking your energy tariffs on a yearly basis, Check out Money Savings Expert’s guide to switching your energy here.
If you are having trouble paying a bill or have a debt with an energy company, then your energy supplier may be able to help you. You may be able to apply for a grant from a charitable trust to help with the arrears or clear your debt. Please click on the links for further information on eligibility and how to make an application.
- British Gas Energy Trust
- npower Energy Fund
- Scottish Power Hardship Fund
- Ovo Debt and energy assistance
- E.on Energy Fund
- EDF Energy Customer Support Fund
- Bulb Energy Fund
Please contact our advice team on 0300 123 7015 if you require assistance to make the application.
Green Homes Grant (England)
What is the Green Homes Grant?
Homeowners and landlords in England can apply for a voucher towards the cost of installing energy efficient and low-carbon heating improvements to homes, which could help save up to £600 a year on energy bills.
The government will provide a voucher that covers up to two thirds of the cost of qualifying improvements to your home. The maximum value of the voucher is £5,000. You may be able to receive a higher level of subsidy if you are a homeowner and either you or a member of your household receives one of the qualifying benefits, covering 100% of the cost of the improvements. The maximum value of these voucher is £10,000. Please check out Simple energy advice for more information here.
Nest: Free home energy efficiency improvements (Wales)
Is your home hard to heat? You could be eligible for home energy efficiency improvements at no cost to you. Nest install free boilers, central heating systems and insulation to help households on low incomes to keep warm and reduce the cost of their energy bills. Find out more here.
How to improve energy efficiency
For tips on how to more make your home energy efficient, please visit Simply energy advice.
Energy saving Tips
For tips on how to save energy please check out Moneysaving Experts guide ‘Energy Myth busting spend less on gas and electricity’ here.