Fuel Poverty Dropped In 2011
By Leigh Teixeira
The Department Of Energy and Climate Change released a report last week that show the total number of UK households experiencing fuel poverty has dropped to its lowest point since 2008ís financial crisis. The report shows that in 2011 the number of people living with fuel poverty was 4.5 million and had dropped from what it was in 2010 by 250 000.
If 10% or more of a householdís income is spent on energy costs, the household is considered to be in fuel poverty. There are plans to alter the way in which fuel poverty is categorized. The purpose of this is to highlight how the problem has a greater effect on low income households. The new categorization will be called the Low Income High Cost Measure.
The report also shows that those who are experiencing fuel poverty are finding that it is becoming more difficult to afford their energy bills.
The overall number of people in the UK who can be categorized under the Low Income High Cost measure in 2011 was 2.6 million. This is down by 100 000 from what it was in 2010. On the other hand, the Department of Energy and Climate Change say that the depth of the fuel poverty has increased during the same time frame. The depth of the fuel poverty is the difference between the amount of money those who experience fuel poverty need to spend on meeting their energy needs and the average amount spent.
Figures show that those categorized under the Low Income High Cost measure have had a rise in the costs of their bills by around £26 in 2011 from what it was in 2010. For these people to escape fuel poverty their bills would need to drop by at least £448 annually.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change have pointed out the reason that the number of people experiencing fuel poverty has dropped because income has increased in poorer households and the measures which have been put in place to improve any usage has helped lower costs. Most recent price increases arenít included in these figures.
The Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker has said that he feels encouraged by the drop in the number of people who are experiencing fuel poverty however there are still many people who are living in terrible conditions. After many years of the number of fuel poverty stricken households increasing it has finally started to drop. The government is intent on continuing this new trend.
It isnít within the government power to control energy prices on an international level and thus always has the potential to act as a speed bump for progress. Householdsí improving on their energy efficiency is proving to be an effective way of reducing fuel poverty.
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