Today — March 28 — marks National Energy Action’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, an event organised to recognise the issue of fuel poverty.
Understanding the impact of fuel poverty
It is reported that some 2.4 million households were categorised as living in fuel poverty in 2011.
Meanwhile, numbers from Energy Bill Revolution found that it wasn’t only the nation’s elderly who suffer. Some 2 million children were affected as struggling families made the choice between “heating and eating.”
uSwitch’s own research found that 73% of British households turned off their heating at some point last winter in an effort to cut their gas bill, with 23% of those reporting they did this frequently.
Earlier this year, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham drew a link between a 10% rise in A&E visits for circulatory and respiratory issues, stating:
“These new figures show for the first time the effect on A&E of the cost-of-living crisis and rising energy bills.”
Identifying and helping those in fuel poverty
To help combat and raise awareness for fuel poverty, the NEA has provided materials outlining, among other things, ways to identify someone who may be living in fuel poverty, as well as tips to help them.
Someone living in fuel poverty may raise the following complaints:
- “I can’t afford to heat my home”
- “My house is cold and/or damp”
- “I’m about to be disconnected”
If someone you know has mentioned the above, you can help them by:
- Finding out what energy plan they are on and helping them find out if that’s the best one for them
- Help them find out if there are benefits out there that could provide aid (i.e., Warm Home Discount)
- Discuss the option of switching supplier for a more affordable energy plan