Fuel poverty – the next steps?

550x280_thermostat_lady

The Coalition Government devolved the delivery of fuel poverty policy to the energy supply industry by introducing the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) to the household names in the energy supply business. Via their licence to supply, they are obligated to reduce domestic carbon emissions (ie help households to use less energy) by the most cost-effective method.

Scaling back of the Energy Company Obligation 

This turned out to be a programme which added about 5% to gas bills and about 11% to electricity bills  yielding some £1bn per year for remedial fuel poverty work. As global energy prices rose, these ‘extras’ on gas and electricity bills came into the firing line, and the Government scaled back ECO in 2013. With no tax-funded programme in play, and what is effectively a cap on what it obliges energy companies to do, the outlook for those in fuel poverty is bleak.  Continue reading “Fuel poverty – the next steps?”

Living in a cold home is dangerous, but the Winter Fuel Payment really helps

Older couple receive billIt is now well understood that cold homes are dangerous. People who are vulnerable because of underlying health or mobility issues can face an increased risk in cold conditions from high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and respiratory illnesses, as well as dizziness, falls and depression.

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Cold Homes Week

A collage of knitted housesThis week is a big week for our campaign for warm homes – it’s Cold Homes Week (2-6 February), a week of action to raise awareness of the scandal of excess winter deaths and help secure warm homes for all.

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The ongoing pain of excess winter deaths

An older woman in bed

The figures for ‘excess winter deaths’ for last winter (2013-14) are mercifully down on the truly awful figures for the previous year. But this is no cause for celebration. It is a grim reminder that the debate about energy is not just about prices, but is also about lives, illness and misery.

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Older, not colder

An older woman reading her fuel bill

The weather may still be relatively mild, but there’s no doubt that winter is just around the corner and for many older people, this is a huge worry. Age UK’s new research has found that 1 in 3 older people are concerned about keeping their home adequately warm this coming winter, and 70 per cent of older people are concerned about the high cost of energy.

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The long-promised fuel poverty strategy for England

A woman living in fuel povertyAt last, the Government has produced the fuel poverty strategy paper it promised in December. It falls rather short of what we hoped for.

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Reducing fuel poverty – a scourge for older people

Older couple receive bill

Despite a slight fall in the number of fuel poor older households in England in 2012, the Government’s annual fuel poverty report, released today, projects that levels of fuel poverty are once again set to rise.

Age UK has responded to these figures by publishing a new report. Reducing fuel poverty – a scourge for older people (PDF 580 KB) calls on the Government to urgently tackle the nation’s problem of fuel poverty by driving forward a massive energy efficiency programme.

Continue reading “Reducing fuel poverty – a scourge for older people”