Friday 27th November 2020 marks National Energy Action’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day. This is a day to campaign and raise awareness around fuel poverty and the importance of living in a warm home. In the most recent reports from the government, published in April of this year, approximately 1 in 10 households in England were fuel poor in 2018.
Fuel Poverty is determined by if a household’s fuel costs are above average and if their disposable income after paying housing and fuel costs is below the poverty line, using the Low Income High Costs Indicator. The three elements that are important when using this indicator are household income, household energy requirements and fuel prices. This means that there are many factors that could lead a household into fuel poverty, such as reduced income or a change in housing.
Whilst the government report does show that the numbers of those in fuel poverty has been reducing, there is still cause for concern. Not being able to pay your energy bills, and as a result living in a cold home, can have serious consequences. For example, the health consequences discussed in the PECT blog “How to keep warm for your health”.
A serious consequence of fuel poverty, and living in cold conditions, is connected to the number of excess winter deaths each year. This figure is determined by looking at the number of deaths that occurred during the winter months of December to March and comparing that to the average deaths during the four months before this, August to November, and the four months after, April to July. The figures allow us to see that the higher number of deaths during the winter are caused by the effects of the cold on serious health conditions, such as respiratory illnesses and heart conditions. The estimated number of these in the winter of 2018 to 2019 was 23,200, and it is most likely that a number of these people were living in fuel poverty and their deaths could have been prevented.
To tackle the issue of fuel poverty, National Energy Action began Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, to highlight the organisations and services that are working to reduce this challenge. Here at PECT, we provide free energy advice to residents in Fenland, Huntingdonshire and East Cambridgeshire. This is done through our telephone advice service, where an impartial advisor will help you understand how to save money on your energy bills and improve the efficiency of the home.
The PECT advisor will compare tariffs and suppliers, help eligible residents access the Warm Homes Discount and Priority Service Register, search for help with home energy improvements such as cavity wall insulation, and advise on small behavioural changes that can easily be done to reduce energy usage.
To find out more information about this service or to talk to an advisor, call 01733 568408 ext. 313 or our freephone number 0800 8021773. You can also email us at [email protected] or fill in our referral form here.