Climate Change Challenge - tackling climate change and fuel poverty Follow uk8020org on Twitter

Domain for sale -

tomorrow's  challenge  today

Patron  Madonna                 not for profit organisation, please support this site


Resource Centre

News Centre

Save Energy


The Green Shop

Support Us





watch my video
Watch our 2 min Fuel Poverty Video

Fuel Poverty Facts
(A fact sheet on fuel poverty)

What is Fuel Poverty
(also known as Energy Poverty in other parts of the world)

The UK government defines fuel poverty as follows:
A household is said to be in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on fuel to maintain a satisfactory heating regime (usually 21 degrees for the main living area, and 18 degrees for other occupied rooms). Fuel poverty is caused by the interaction of a number of factors, but three specifically stand out. These are:

1. The energy efficiency status of the property
2. The cost of energy
3. Household income

How many People are in Fuel Poverty in the UK

In 2005, 2.5 million households in the UK were classed as fuel poor.
This figure can be found alongside other detailed information in the report below by clicking the link:
UK fuel poverty strategy - 5th Fuel Poverty Annual Progress Report 2007

In 2006 an estimated 3.5 million households in the UK were classed as fuel poor.
In 2007 an estimated 4.5 million households in the UK were classed as fuel poor.
(Based on facts from Age Concern)

By the end of 2008 it is estimated that around 6 million households will be forced into fuel poverty due to an average increase of 43% in energy bills.

Estimations vary from different sources however one must be mindful of the massive increases in energy prices that recently occurred in Britain.

For instance The National Housing Association has revealed in a report the following:

5.7m households will be spending at least 10% of their income on energy bills by the end of 2009 – an increase of 100% over 2005 levels.

With annual electricity bills due to increase to over £500 per year, and gas bills to increase to around £900, by 2010, the report shows that the number of people struggling to pay their bills will increase to record levels.

According to the report, 5,720,000 households will be in fuel poverty by the end of next year compared to 2,400,000 in 2005 (and 3,774,000 at the end of 2007). This means that 13.4m people will be hit by fuel poverty in 2009 – which equates to 23% of the British population.

In 2005, the average energy bill per annum was £676. However, next year this is set to rocket to £1,406.

More about their findings are in the link below:

To find out more energy price increases this year please see the section below.


How does Fuel Poverty affect the Vulnerable

Older people are more likely to be hit the hardest when it comes to increases in fuel prices and are more prone to cold related illnesses which in many cases result in death.

Based on 2006 statistics and sourced from Age Concern:

11.3 million were over State Pension Age this was up 420,000 since 2002

of which
7.2 million women were aged 60 and over
9.7 million people were aged 65 and over, of whom 4.2 million were men and
5.5 million were women
2.7 million were aged over 80, up 220,000 since 2002

63% of UK pensioners receive at least half their income from State Pensions and benefits

The UK has more people aged over 60 than under 16

Age Concern estimates that more than 1 in 3 pensioner households are likely to be in fuel poverty by the end of the year

The number of pensioner households in fuel poverty has more than doubled since 2004. Age Concern estimates since the latest round of energy price hikes there are now around 2.5 million older households in fuel poverty in the UK.

Older people experiencing fuel poverty are most likely to be over 75, on a low income particularly means-tested benefits and living alone.

By 2031 almost a quarter of the population will be over state pension age


Fuel Poverty and Excess Winter Deaths

Nearly 90 per cent of all excess winter deaths are of people over the age of 65. Older people are particularly at risk of dying during the winter as they are often less resilient to cold-related illnesses, especially people with existing health problems.

For every degree Celsius that winter is colder than average, an extra 8000 deaths result.

Britain has one of the highest rates of excess winter deaths in Europe

Excess Winter Deaths are defined by the Office of National Statistics. They are the difference between the number of deaths during the four winter months (December to March) and the average number of deaths during the preceding autumn (August to November) and the following summer (April to July).

Exposure to the cold does affect the number of winter deaths, but it is very unusual for the cold to kill people directly. In the main these deaths are from respiratory or cardio-vascular ailments. Overall deaths are from heart attacks, strokes, bronchial and other conditions, and may often occur several days after exposure to the cold. Spending too long in the cold will lower the body temperature which can often aggravate circulatory diseases, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks or respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

Other reasons why older people are particularly at risk
Older people with existing health problems are more at risk, so they need to take extra care when it is cold.

Older people are less able to judge if they are warm or cold, meaning they may not put on an extra jumper or put on the heating before they get too cold.

Many older people tend to live in older houses with inefficient heating systems and/or no insulation. This makes it harder to heat their homes.

Older people often try to cut their energy bills by reducing the amount of heating they use or choosing to wrap up warm instead.

Older people on low incomes spend up to 30 per cent less on food than is needed for a healthy balanced diet. This puts their physical and mental well-being at risk and could make them more vulnerable to the cold.

Deaths from Cold Related Illnesses

The number of additional deaths (or excess winter deaths) occurring in winter varies depending on temperature and the level of disease in the population, as well as other factors. The elderly experience the greatest increase in deaths each winter.

24,650 people over 65 died in 2005/2006. During that period 2.5 million households were in fuel poverty.

There is a danger that with fuel poverty levels rising to 5.5 million in 2007 this figure could seriously increase especially if there is a Flu epidemic such as the one in 1999/2000 where there were approximately 59,000 excess winter deaths.


Watch Our 2 minute Fuel Poverty Video

watch my video


Energy Prices of the Big 6 Energy Companies


Table showing average annual household energy bill in 2008 information from - released 29th Aug 2008

Supplier Standard Plan
Standard Plan after second price rise Total increase since 1st January 2008
EDF Energy £907 £1,007 £1,211 £304 34%
Scottish and Southern Energy £875 £1,006 £1,259 £384 44%
npower £908 £1,056 £1,278 £370 41%
E.ON £913 £1,063 £1,297 £384 42%
British Gas £912 £1,055 £1,328 £416 46%
ScottishPower £959 £1,100 £1,375 £416 43%
Average £912 £1,048 £1,307 £395 43%

Bill sizes based on a medium user profile (20,500kWh of gas 3,300kWh of electricity per annum). Bill sizes averaged across all regions. Customer taking a standard Dual Fuel plan, paying on receipt of bill.