A report, and accompanying position paper, discussed the implications for vulnerable customers of introducing smart energy meters in homes across Britain.
Source: National Energy Action, Developing an Extra Help Scheme for Vulnerable Smart Meter Customers: Research undertaken by NEA for Citizens Advice, Citizens Advice
Source: , Smart Meter Extra Help: Ensuring all consumers benefit from the rollout of smart meters, Citizens Advice
A series of reports and briefings summarized evidence, practical points, and case studies on approaches and actions that might be taken by local authorities on a range of issues to reduce health inequalities (drawing on expertise from the Marmot Review). Reports covered: parenting programmes; home to school transition; pupils' resilience in school; reducing the number of young people not in employment, education, or training; adult learning; increasing employment for older people and people with disabilities; improving workplace health; the living wage; fuel poverty; home-related health problems; access to green spaces; and the economics of investing in social determinants of health.
Source: Local Action on Health Inequalities: Introduction to a series of evidence papers, Public Health England
The government began consultation on proposals for a fuel poverty strategy for England. The consultation would close on 7 October 2014.
Source: Cutting the Cost of Keeping Warm: A new fuel poverty strategy for England, Department for Energy and Climate Change
A paper presented findings on the impact of the cost of living on families in Northern Ireland, drawn from the Communities in Action (CiA) Programme, a community-led research project with eight working class communities across the country. Key findings included: that increases in the cost of living made even essential items unaffordable for some people; that fuel and heating costs were of greatest concern in all participating communities; that changes to the social security system were beginning to make an impact on some of the most vulnerable participants; that people were struggling to meet their housing costs, whether for rent or mortgage payments, with some having lost their homes and others under threat; and that many people felt they were losing any security they had built up in recent years.
Source: Gabi Kent, Hard Times 1: The high cost of living, Community Foundation for Northern Ireland
The government began consultation on proposals to introduce the Government Electricity Rebate, which would provide a £12 rebate to domestic electricity account holders in Great Britain. The consultation would close on 17 July 2014.
Source: Government Electricity Rebate, Department for Energy and Climate Change
Links: Consultation document
A report examined fuel poverty among people with disabilities in England. It concluded that disabled people, especially those on low income benefits and with high energy needs, may experience cold, damp housing, and/or energy debt, regardless of whether or not they were defined as fuel poor, and that official measures neglected the actual energy needs of some people, which often fluctuated over time. It said that the assumption that disability-related benefits could be used to meet fuel bills was flawed, and the use of prepayment meters was inappropriate for many people with disabilities. The report made recommendations for policymakers and practitioners.
Source: Carolyn Snell, Mark Bevan, and Harriet Thomson, Fuel Poverty and Disabled People: The impact of policy change, Centre for Housing Policy (University of York)
A report from a children's charity highlighted the extent of fuel poverty in Britain and said that many children living in poverty were also living in homes that were inadequately heated. The report said that many families were not receiving the Warm Home Discount, and called for the government to make it automatically available to all families with children who were living in poverty.
Source: Sam Royston, Behind Cold Doors: The chilling reality for children in poverty, Childrenï¿½s Society
A government department published a range of reports drawn from its Household Electricity Use Survey, which monitored a total of 250 owner-occupier households across England from 2010 to 2011.
Source 1: Jean-Paul Zimmermann, Matt Evans, Jonathan Griggs, Nicola King, Les Harding, Penelope Roberts, and Chris Evans, Household Electricity Survey: A study of domestic electrical product usage, Intertek
Source 2: Jason Palmer, Nicola Terry, and Tom Kane, Early Findings: Demand side management, Cambridge Architectural Research/Element Energy/Loughborough University
Source 3: Jason Palmer, Nicola Terry, Tom Kane, Steven Firth, Mark Hughes, Peter Pope, Jacob Young, David Knight, and Daniel Godoy-Shimizu, Electrical Appliances at Home: Tuning in to energy saving, Cambridge Architectural Research/Element Energy/Loughborough University
Source 4: Mark Hughes and Jorge Garcia Moreno, Consumer Archetypes, Element Energy
Source 5: Mark Hughes and Jorge Garcia Moreno, Increasing Insight and UK Applicability, Element Energy
Source 6: Steven Firth and Jason Palmer, The Potential for Smart Meters in a National Household Energy Survey, Cambridge Architectural Research/Loughborough University
An article examined the tensions between energy efficiency obligations on fuel suppliers (used to reduce carbon emissions) and measures to alleviate fuel poverty. These tensions arose from the potentially regressive impacts of rising energy prices resulting from such obligations, and also the complexity of targeting fuel-poor households and the implications for deliverability. The authors suggested alternative approaches to targeting fuel poverty within future supplier obligations.
Source: Jan Rosenow, Reg Platt, and Brooke Flanagan, 'Fuel poverty and energy efficiency obligations – a critical assessment of the supplier obligation in the UK', Energy Policy, Volume 62
A report evaluated the Foundations Independent Living Trust's Warm Homes Service. The FILT WHS aimed to assist older and vulnerable people at risk from cold weather and prevent cold-related harm and illness. The report said that the scheme received £499,200 of funding from the Department of Health over the winter of 2012-13. It concluded that that the benefits to clients were sizeable when compared with the average cost of intervention (around £200) and the potential benefits and cost savings across health, housing and social care. The report said that the FILT WHS could provide a key delivery component for the Cold Weather Plan nationally and locally.
Source: Nadia Bashir, Anna Cronin de Chavez, Jan Gilbertson, Angela Tod, Elizabeth Sanderson, and Ian Wilson, An Evaluation of the FILT Warm Homes Service, Centre for Regional, Economic and Social Research (Sheffield Hallam University)
An article examined whether households cut back on food spending to finance the additional cost of keeping warm during spells of unseasonably cold weather. There was evidence that the poorest of older households could not smooth fuel spending over the worst temperature shocks. Statistically significant reductions in food spending occurred in response to winter temperatures 2 or more standard deviations colder than expected, which occurred about 1 winter month in 40. Reductions in food expenditure were considerably larger in poorer households.
Source: Timothy Beatty, Laura Blow, and Thomas Crossley, 'Is there a "heat-or-eat" trade-off in the UK?', Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A, Volume 177 Number 1