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Energy efficiency to thank for fuel poverty reduction

The number of households that are facing fuel poverty has fallen, with energy-efficient measures such as solid wall insulation (SWI) being attributed for this decrease.

Recently-released statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change revealed how 2.28 million households were struggling to heat their homes sufficiently, in comparison to the 2.39 million in this state in 2011. This represents a fall of almost five per cent. 

Both the average and aggregate fuel poverty gap also dropped, according to government data. The former fell slightly from £445 to £443 per household, while the latter declined by around five per cent to £1.01 billion in 2012 in real terms.

The report said that, while it was difficult to specifically credit one factor in particular for these figures, energy-efficient procedures and income gains were definitely to thank.

"In summary, changes in income, fuel costs and energy efficiency levels amongst fuel poor households are broadly consistent with the changes seen for the population as a whole," it said. 

A household is considered to be in fuel poverty when these costs are above the average level and, once these bills are paid, their income would then be below the official poverty line. 

Climate change minister Greg Barker welcomed these figures and said they were encouraging: "This welcome progress shows that, while we can't control volatile energy prices, we can continue to improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock."

Such energy-saving measures can include solid wall insulation, which can help to stop heat escaping from a property. 

Mr Barker stressed the government was doing everything within its power to help families to lower their energy bills, and cited how the Energy Company Obligation and Green Deal had supported in excess of 372,000 low-income and vulnerable households. 

Individuals are being incentivised to carry out energy-saving measures such as SWI by being able to claim as much as £6,000 towards the procedure, while the Green Deal will pay for 75 per cent of the total cost. 

Posted by Simon Webster


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