Households are considered by the Government to be in ‘fuel poverty’ if they would have to spend more than 10% of their household income on fuel to keep their home in a ‘satisfactory’ condition.

Fuel Poverty is a measure which compares income with what the fuel costs ‘should be’ rather than what they actually are. Whether a household is in fuel poverty or not is determined by a number of factors including:

  • The cost of energy
  • The energy efficiency of the property (and, therefore, the energy required to heat and power the home)
  • Household income.

Four million households in England were classified as being in fuel poverty in 2009, which is 18% of all households in the UK.

Fuel Poverty can arise in many circumstances. Some common reasons include:

  • A change in income
  • Paying off arrears on your gas, electricity and water
  • Allowing your energy supplier to estimate your bills

Our Money Wise Team have some top tips to help you avoid fuel poverty:

  • Always provide meter readings on a regular basis – if you allow your supplier to estimate your readings, they could be higher than what they actually are.
  • Shop around for the best energy tariffs when your price plan has ended, or switch earlier if your supplier doesn’t charge a fee.
  • Become more energy efficient and save fuel by making a few simple changes in the home, such as switching off lights and not leaving the tap running when you clean your teeth.
  • Consider energy saving devices such as energy efficient light-bulbs and shower water regulators.
  • Pay your bill by direct debit, or look at having both your gas and electricity from the same supplier – that can save around £100 per year in some cases.

If you’re having difficulty with fuel arrears or believe you are in fuel poverty, and would like assistance in looking at your options, please contact our Money Wise team on 01282 686300 or email