With millions of people struggling to heat their homes, we are facing an energy fuel crisis. One of the main reasons is that the UK’s homes are some of the least energy efficient in Europe – leaking heat from their doors, walls and windows. As a result energy bills are high and fuel poverty is getting worse (Energy Bill Revolution).
The Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act (2000) see a person living in fuel poverty as somebody who is a member of a household living on a lower income in a home which cannot be kept warm at reasonable cost.
Fuel poverty is often linked to other issues and can stem from a number of causes. For example, people who have trouble paying bills often have to use pre-payment meters, which means that they often cannot access the best deals or competitive rates and pay more for their fuel as a result.
A recent review forecast that in 2016, 8.5 million people within 2.9 million households across the UK will be in fuel poverty.
Each year we see a rise in the number of ‘excess winter deaths’. Excess winter deaths is defined as the difference between the number of deaths which occurred in winter (December to March) and the average number of deaths during the preceding four months (August to November) and the subsequent four months (April to July). In 2012 there were an estimated 31,100 excess winter deaths in England and Wales, a 29% increase on the previous year. More women than men accounted for those excess winter deaths, and most were aged 75 and over. The problem is made worse if there is also a flu epidemic.