Fuel Poverty Awareness Day 2019
2.5 million households in the UK meet the criteria for being in fuel poverty. That means that more than ten percent of homes in the UK are calculated as having above-median energy costs which, if the occupants were to pay them, would leave the household income below the official poverty line. This either means people are cold, in debt to their energy supplier, or have very little money left for other bills, food and necessities. What’s worse, reports and data suggest that our efforts to address this are stalling, and more people are entering fuel poverty than leaving it.
There are many factors which can contribute to addressing fuel poverty, and we at Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation are eager to play our part in reducing the impact that this has on millions of families in the UK.
One significant change that can be made in a fuel poor household is reducing the cost of hot water and space heating. Insulation of the home to reduce heat loss is a vital first-step in this process, but once the energy requirement of the home has been reduced through improvements such as double glazing and cavity wall and loft insulation, the next big step is usually improving the heating and hot water system.
The issue in hand can be approached in two ways; The first is increase system efficiency which reduces overall energy use, for example by replacing a water cylinder or traditional storage heater for one with modern insulation can save up to 27% on running costs.
The second way of approaching the issue of fuel poverty through heating and hot water systems, is with increased control and automation. We have seen many instances where giving accurate control over a system has led to reduced running costs. With the right controls a resident can choose to only heat water or a room when it is needed, maintaining health and comfort whilst minimising the amount of money needed to achieve it.
Advocating efficient, controllable systems is great in principal, but the conditions of fuel poverty often dictate that access to the capital needed to fund these improvements is not available. Whilst they often pay for themselves many times over in savings during their lifetime once installed, it can be difficult to pay for them up-front; a fact recognised by the government. There are a number of routes designed to help people access funding which can provide them with a new system they might not otherwise have been able to consider. Whether they own the property, or rent it in a private or social function, there are grants that can provide the much-needed support to fully or partially fund the changes needed to take control of one of the largest outgoings a household has.
Our products were Green Deal compliant when it was a government-run scheme, and continue to qualify for this now privately-backed loan scheme. We also have extensive knowledge of working with installers qualified in the delivery of Energy Company Obligation (ECO) measures, where a significant proportion or all of an energy-saving home improvement can be funded. In total, 6.5m households are eligible to access the funding and in the current phase of the scheme £640m will be invested into making energy-saving improvements to 900,000 homes, including up to 35,000 heating system replacements each year. Many providers can combine insulation and heating measures to increase funding and savings, which can have a huge and immediate impact on the cost of running a household in fuel poverty.
Fuel poverty affects a huge number of people in this country, and we want to be a part of the solution. We will continue to work with energy companies, homeowners, tenants, private and social landlords to reduce the amount of household income needed to keep warm.