Government to measure fuel poverty differently

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has proposed a new method to measure fuel poverty following recommendations set out by Professor John Hills of the London School of Economics (LSE) during an independent review on the issue of fuel poverty.

DECC is consulting on the introduction of what it hopes will be a more accurate measurement that will see a new definition of fuel poverty. The new definition will include dual indicators separating the extent of the issue (the number of people affected) from its depth (how badly people are affected).  

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: “We want to make sure people across the country are able to keep warm in winter and we have a range of schemes in place already doing just that. 

“But with the number of people living in fuel poverty projected to rise, the time has come to go back to basics to ensure we are doing all we can.

“This means defining and measuring fuel poverty in the right way and working up a new fuel poverty strategy so that we can target our available resources where they are needed most.”

DECC is also considering the knock-on effect that the change of definition will have on the current fuel poverty target set out in the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000. At the moment the current target is focused on the eradication of fuel poverty as much as possible by 2016. However, Hill’s review recommends that the target should be amended to align it with the new type of definition.  

The department aims to publish its decisions early next year. The full consultation document can be viewed here and is open to responses until November 30.