31 May 2018
Fuel Poverty Figures fall to 22% but we still have a long way to go!

National Energy Action (NEA) Northern Ireland, the leading fuel poverty charity in Northern Ireland, welcomes the long awaited results from the 2016 House Condition Survey (HCS), which has indicated that fuel poverty has decreased in Northern Ireland. The fuel poverty charity attributes the reduction to a combination of variables.

The data for the HCS was collected back in 2016 when home heating oil was at an all-time low with the average price for 500 litres hitting £125 in January 2016[1].  However, the same amount of heating oil now costs on average £268, that’s over 100% increase.

The second likely variable to contribute is the many households benefiting from energy efficiency measures under the various schemes.  Along with increased access to natural gas in many more towns across the region.

Commenting on the 2016 House Condition Survey, which outlined the decrease in fuel poverty from 42% to 22%, the Director of NEA, Pat Austin said:

“We welcome this news; however, we need a renewed focus on the 22%.  It is simply not acceptable that we have such levels of fuel poverty and this figure should not mask the fact that if the data was collected today, many more households would be experiencing fuel poverty.  We need to redouble our efforts to end fuel poverty in Northern Ireland and call on the Department for Communities to start working on the new fuel poverty strategy, which was promised in the 2016 Programme for Government.

“Current interventions such as the Affordable Warmth Scheme and the Northern Ireland Sustainable Energy Programme (NISEP) have been effective tools in providing measures to tackle fuel poverty and these resources need to be protected.

‘With the political will, we can end fuel poverty but need our Parties and those with influence to show leadership and bring forward a new fuel poverty strategy with the appropriate action plan and resources.

“There were 640 excess winter deaths in 2016-17; a third of these deaths are directly attributable to people living in cold damp homes.  That is a national scandal, lets redouble all our efforts to end the blight and suffering that fuel poverty brings.”

Ends

[1] Data provided by The Consumer Council.

Notes for Editors
  1. The last House Condition Survey field work was carried out in 2011, when oil prices were as high as £325 for 500 litres.  The fuel poverty rate from this report was 42%.
  2. For info, please contact Pat Austin, Director of NEA NI and Chair of the Fuel Poverty Coalition on 028 9023 9909 or 077 0321 0390.