This paper provides a broad overview of fuel poverty in Northern Ireland examining issues such as the definition of fuel poverty, the causes and extent of fuel poverty and key fuel poverty policy developments.  The paper also briefly explores the progress made in tackling fuel poverty both in Northern Ireland and other jurisdictions.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a broad overview of some of the key issues relevant to fuel poverty in Northern Ireland. It is not intended in any way to be an exhaustive account of all relevant issues as fuel poverty is an issue which is complex and multi-dimensional and cuts across many different Government Departments including for example, OFMdFM; Social Development; Enterprise, Trade and Investment; and Health.

For ease of reference the paper is divided into seven sections with the first section exploring the definition of fuel poverty used in Northern Ireland and across the various other devolved regions.

Section two examines some of the main causes of fuel poverty (e.g. rising fuel prices, low income, poor energy efficiency) and highlights the impact of rising fuel price on fuel poverty levels in the UK.

The third section of the paper explores the extent of fuel poverty in Northern Ireland and highlights some of the reasons why fuel poverty here is higher than other regions.

Section four looks briefly at the impact of fuel poverty on vulnerable groups such as children and young people, people with disabilities and/or long term illnesses and older people.

Finally sections five, six and seven examine some key fuel poverty developments in Northern Ireland and the progress made towards the eradication of fuel poverty in Northern Ireland and other regions.