More than one in ten UK households are living in fuel poverty

More than one in ten UK households are living in fuel poverty

The cost of heating our homes and water is rapidly on the increase, and millions of households in England are being left unable to meet these costs, a study has found.

According to fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA), around 4 million households are in fuel poverty. This is having an effect on both physical and mental health, and impacting on children’s education up and down the country, as some households face a shortfall of up to £600 between their fuel bills and what they can actually afford. A new government study shows that many appear to be choosing to switch off the heating in order to save money, with UK households consuming less energy than has been projected necessary to deliver comfort and health.

Peter Smith, director of policy and research at NEA said, “The UK Government must support the strong case for the re-introduction of adequate public capital investment – a necessity if we are to make the UK’s homes warmer and safe for human habitation.”

OFTEC has also called for local MPs to provide more support to those in need.

UK government statistics show that the numbers of energy efficiency improvements, such as insulation measures and new boiler installations, are some of the lowest they’ve been since the Government began their energy efficiency programme in 2013.

Adam Scorer, Chief Executive of NEA said, “Last winter saw a record 17,000 excess deaths caused by cold homes. Despite knowing energy efficiency saves money, carbon and lives, the number of insulation measures and boilers installed is falling off a cliff and very little support will have reached those most in need this winter. England continues to be the only UK nation without a government-funded programme. We urgently need to stop relying solely on energy suppliers to help the most vulnerable; this is a chronic public health crisis and government also has to step-up”.

With 40% of us worried that we can’t keep our homes warm in winter according to The Energy Savings Trust, it’s worth looking at ways you can make your home more energy efficient to help reduce heating bills.

Here are our top energy efficiency tips:

Eliminate draughts
Draft proof doors and close the curtains when it starts going dark to keep the cold out and the warmth in.

Lay thermal underlay beneath carpets and install loft and cavity wall insulation if you don’t already have it. Contact your local council and ask about any local schemes for free or discounted insulation in your area.

Replace the boiler
How old is your boiler? Contact your local council to find out if you are eligible for free or discounted boiler replacement.

Get a CombiSave
If you’ve got a combi boiler, even if it’s brand new, have a CombiSave valve fitted to help reduce the amount of water and gas used in heating up your water whenever the hot tap is turned on. This could save you up to 600kWh of gas and £100 a year on bills, plus it actually speeds up the water heating process.

Heating and hot water controls
If you have a room thermostat, make sure it’s set for comfort but not higher than you need, and drop the temperature on your thermostat when you’re away from home. Programme your thermostat or boiler and heating system to match your needs, so that it’s only on when you actually need it (for example, when you get up in the morning and in the evenings).

Extra layers
Put on additional layers of clothing or blankets before considering cranking up the heating.

Avoid washing half-loads in your washing machine – fewer loads means less water and energy is used overall.

Unplug chargers
If you’ve got a number of chargers plugged in around the home, even while not in use they still use a small amount of electricity, which can add up to 10% of your energy bill, so unplug them after use.

It’s a classic, but we all know showering uses far less water and energy to heat the water than filling a bath. Even better, look at fitting a more efficient aerated shower head, which could save a four person household around £70 a year on gas for water heating, according to the EST.

For more information about how the CombiSave could save you money on your heating bills take a look here:

Update – 30th of July.

Our offices are back to normal working hours as of Monday 3rd of August.

Thank you for your patience during these difficult times.