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A home is said to be in fuel poverty when fuel bills are so high that consumers are left below the poverty line after paying them.
Fuel poverty is driven by three key factors:
- a home’s energy efficiency
- energy usage/fuel costs, and
- household income
Fuel poverty can be addressed by making our homes and behaviour more energy efficient.
Small or behavioural changes
There are some simple things you can do to maximise your home’s energy efficiency as it is now:
- set the thermostat to a constant temperature – the ideal room temperature is 18-21°C. Changing the temperature regularly uses more energy, and the lower the temperature, the lower the energy use
- keep radiators unobstructed
- curtains can keep heat in. Try to get thick ones and close them as soon as it gets dark. Ensure your curtains do not cover radiators as the heat will be directed out of the windows and not into the room
- utilise special energy tariffs i.e. Economy 7
- turn off unnecessary lights and use the lowest energy lighting – check the letter rating of the bulbs, you want one that is a C or higher
- install reflective panels behind radiators
- reduce your water temperature – it shouldn’t need to be more than 60C. Check the boiler thermostat
- don’t use standby on appliances, ensure they are switched off at the plug when not in use.
- wall or loft insulation
- new, more efficient heating system i.e. new boiler or heat pump
- draught proofing
- new, more energy efficient windows
- condensation and Mould Prevention
- while it is important to keep heat in, we also want to prevent condensation and mould
- wipe any areas where moisture settles
- cover boiling pans when cooking
- close doors when cooking, bathing, or washing and drying clothes to prevent steam entering other rooms – even after you have finished
- open a window when cooking, bathing, or washing and drying clothes to allow moisture to exit
- allow air to circulate throughout the property and around all furniture to prevent moisture buildup
- keep your home at a constant, warm temperature – 18-21 degrees is optimal.
Contact a participating energy supplier to see if you qualify for Energy Company Obligation (ECO) improvement measures. The supplier does not need to be your energy supplier.
Gas prices are currently very high. This will place enormous pressure on consumers, particularly if there is a cold winter.
It is important that you educate yourself on energy efficiency best practises to minimise the cost to you.
Winter Fuel Payments
You will be contacted automatically if you qualify for Winter Fuel Payments. You will need to be born before 26 September 1955 and have lived in the UK before 20 September 2021.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
You will qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme if you get the Guarantee Credit element of pension credit. If you qualify under this you will get a letter. If you think you do but haven’t received one by the end of December please contact the scheme directly.
You may also qualify if you are on a low income. Check with your energy supplier to see if you qualify. Do so as soon as possible as the places under this eligibility criteria are limited.
Cold Weather Payments
You may get Cold Weather Payments if you’re getting:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- Support for Mortgage Interest
You will automatically get a payment for every 7 day consecutive period of 0°C or below weather from 1 November to 31 March.
Switching tariff or provider
With the current surge in energy prices, the industry recommendation is to stay with your current provider for now.
Many suppliers have multiple tariffs to choose from, one of which may be better suited to your needs.
Please contact your supplier for more information on their tariffs and if you need more energy advice, please contact Hackney SHINE.
Energy advice video
The below video, from Senior Energy and Sustainability officer Angela Okoh, covers some top tips for energy efficiency.