15 December 2011


The Fuel Poverty Coalition has today launched a petition calling on the NI Executive to use the final Programme for Government 2011 – 2015 to tackle fuel poverty in a comprehensive and sustained way.
Antoinette McKeown, joint Chair of the Fuel Poverty Coalition said:
“Northern Ireland suffers the worst levels of fuel poverty anywhere in the UK with 44 per cent of all households experiencing fuel poverty and spiralling energy costs[1]
The seriousness of this problem and the impact it has on the health and wellbeing of local families deserves a comprehensive and coordinated response from the NI Executive. The Fuel Poverty Coalition is now seeking public support for our petition calling on the NI Executive to make tackling fuel poverty a key priority in the final Programme for Government 2011 – 2015, by committing to develop a detailed and costed action – plan setting out how and when fuel poverty will be eradicated in Northern Ireland.
The public and interested organisations and groups can sign the Fuel Poverty Coalition’s petition and tell us about their experiences or views by visiting www.fuelpovertycoalition.org.uk.  Fuel Poverty Coalition members will also make available freepost petition postcards for anyone without internet access.
Also commenting, joint Chair, Pat Austin, said:
“We welcome the announcements made our NI Executive in recent weeks about measures aimed at alleviating fuel poverty[2].
We want to see theses further developed in the final Programme for Government 2011 – 2015 with commitments from all relevant government departments to work together to support NI people to heat and light their homes now – and in the future. For our part, the Fuel poverty Coalition pledges to do all we can to eradicate fuel poverty here”

[1] Energy prices have risen significantly over the last two years: Heating oil – 63 per cent; Electricity – up to 18.6 per cent; Gas – up to 39.1 per cent.
[2] OFMF announced on 8 December 2011 a £23 million Fuel Allowance Initiative to provide financial assistance to vulnerable households.
Notes for Editors:
  1. The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all.  It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about buses, trains, planes, ferries, natural gas, electricity, coal and water.
  2. For more information, visit our website at www.consumercouncil.org.uk.