Fuel poverty affects over 560,000 households in the Midlands. But what does the phrase 'fuel poverty' really mean? And what help can you get if you think you're affected?
In the East Midlands 12.7% of households are currently living in fuel poverty, for the West Midlands it's even higher at 13.5%. In England fuel poverty is calculated using the Low Income High Costs (LIHC) indicator. Using this indicator a household is considered fuel poor if:
- they have required fuel costs that are above average (the national median level).
- were they to spend that amount, they would be left with a residual income below the poverty line.
The number of people living in fuel poverty is currently rising. Why is this?
Key factors which contribute towards fuel poverty include:
The energy efficiency of a property, this influences the energy required to heat and power the home.
The cost of energy.
- Price increases of energy means we now need to spend more of our income on energy bills.
- Many people live in energy inefficient homes, this includes drafty homes and homes with old and inefficient heating systems. More money is now spent to heat the homes with less money available for home improvements.
- The increased cost of living puts pressure on finances.
What can I do to try and reduce fuel poverty, for me and others?
- Check your energy bill to see if you can get a better deal elsewhere. Citizens Advice have a great energy comparison tool on their website. We've also written a step-by-step guide for switching energy supplier which you can follow .
- If possible, pay for your bills by monthly Direct Debit, you can often save money by choosing this payment type.
- Some suppliers offer discounts when you switch to them, this could be a one-off discount or ongoing annual discounts such as those for paperless billing.
- Submit regular meter readings to your supplier to prevent estimated bills so you only pay for what you use.
- You can also take steps to reduce your energy use. Here's 10 energy saving tips to help you become more energy efficient in your home.
- Check if you can recieve any grants or schemes, charity Turn2us has a great list and it also includes the prerequisites for each grant.
Why is RAM Energy interested in fuel poverty?
RAM Energy was formed through a partnership between Derby City Council and Robin Hood Energy with the key aim to end fuel poverty and to provide low cost energy to Midlands residents. It is estimated that 15% of Derby residents are currently living in fuel poverty, we are working hard to reduce this figure and help make Derby a safer and stronger city. With our not-for-profit status we are keeping our tariffs as low as possible to ensure people are paying the lowest price for their energy and we're releasing energy efficiency advice to help people lower their overall usage.