Fuel Poverty Review

Hills, J. (ed.) (2012) Getting the measure of fuel poverty. Final Report of the Fuel Poverty Review. CASE report 72.

This report provides an assessment of problems associated with measuring fuel poverty as a proportion of household income spent on energy for heating the home to a comfortable level (specifically 10% or more of income used for this purpose). The authors argue that application of this threshold can misclassify households and that the threshold itself is highly sensitive to changes in energy costs.

A new indicator of fuel poverty is outlined, applied and reviewed. It focuses on people “living on a lower income in a home that cannot be kept warm at reasonable cost” (page 6) a definition taken from the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000 (WHECA). This recognises that the ability of householders to adequately heat their homes depends not only on income but the type of accommodation which people are living in. For example homes with poor energy efficiency due to poor insulation or inefficient appliances will be more costly to heat than others. It is argued that this measure is more helpful for identifying possible solutions to fuel poverty and also for helping to reduce carbon emissions. One of the report’s recommendations is that the depth of fuel poverty is also considered, i.e. how far householders are from meeting the minimum requirements to maintain comfortable temperatures in the home.

Access the report here.