Government publishes updated fuel poverty strategy for England

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The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published a strategy to further drive down levels of fuel poverty in England.

Sustainable Warmth, the updated Fuel Poverty Strategy for England, sets out how the government aims to tackle fuel poverty, while at the same time decarbonising buildings, so that ‘those in fuel poverty are not left behind on the move to net zero, and, where possible, can be some of the earliest to benefit.’

A household is defined to be in fuel poverty if they are on a lower income and unable to heat their home for a reasonable cost.

The Fuel Poverty Strategy for England sets out a plan which includes:

  • Investing a further £60 million to retrofit social housing and £150 million invested in the
    Home Upgrade Grant, contributing to the manifesto commitment to a £2.5 billion Home
    Upgrade Grant over this Parliament.
  • Expanding the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), a requirement for larger domestic
    energy suppliers to install heating, insulation or other energy efficiency measures in the
    homes of people who are low income and vulnerable or fuel poor. ECO will now be extended until 2026, with its value boosted from £640 million to £1 billion a year.
  • Investing in energy efficiency of households through the £2 billion Green Homes Grant,
    including up to £10,000 per low income household to install energy efficient and low carbon heating measures in their homes.
  • Extending the Warm Home Discount, a requirement for energy companies to provide a
    £140 rebate on the energy bill of low income pensioners and other low income
    households with high energy bills, to an extra 750,000 vulnerable fuel poor homes.
  • Driving over £10 billion of investment in energy efficiency through regulatory obligations in the Private Rented Sector. Additionally, leading the way in improved energy efficiency
    standards through the Future Homes Standard, and the Decent Homes Standard.

The new strategy also sets out ‘a more meaningful measure’ of fuel poverty, following feedback from a public consultation that the current ‘high cost’ indicator of energy bills above the median cost needed modernising.

According to the government, there are now 1.2 million fewer low-income households living in the least energy efficient homes, those with Energy Performance Certificates in Band E, F or G, compared to 2010.

The ‘Sustainable warmth: protecting vulnerable households in England’-document is available on the government website.