Industry puts pressure on Government to do more to prevent Fuel Poverty

A cross-industry letter has been sent to HM Treasury to put pressure on the Government to expand the support available for homes at risk of fuel poverty.  

The call follows the lack of focus on energy efficiency within the Energy Security Strategy published in response to rising global energy prices and volatility in international markets.

The Government has provided support for energy efficiency measures since 2013 under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which has since seen over 3 million energy efficiency measures installed in more than 2 million homes. However, while the tried and tested scheme targets vulnerable households, support for homes that fall outside this definition are not eligible.

Two million more UK households could in fact be plunged into fuel poverty due to the price cap increase this April according to National Energy Action (NEA), with the cost of living crisis expected to worsen in Autumn.

Backed by leaders across the energy efficiency industry, the Sustainable Energy Association is calling on the Government to strengthen its Energy Security Strategy by expanding the eligibility criteria for ECO.

The proposed solution is an ECO + Scheme, which would run adjacent but separate to ECO to ensure the key support the scheme brings to vulnerable households is not impacted, whilst helping those who will soon be at risk.

Jade Lewis, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Association said:

 “We welcome the Government taking steps to provide the nation with greater energy security, however, the SEA believes that the strategy does not place enough emphasis on energy efficiency, which is the most effective way to provide long term security against future energy bill rises. Energy efficiency provides additional benefits like supporting the UK’s transition to Net-Zero, stimulating investment in industry and improving comfort and wellbeing. Extending the remit of the Energy Company Obligation would provide an established mechanism for delivering energy efficiency.”

Kaa Holmes, Communications Director at EDF Energy said:

“Insulating homes is the best way to cut dependence on gas and reduce heating bills. More householders need to be able to make this step. EDF fully supports ECO + to help to insulate customers from energy price increases and support the Government in achieving its net zero and energy security ambitions.”

 Andrew Warren, Chair, British Energy Efficiency Federation (BEEF) said:

“ECO+ will guarantee both lower fuel bills for participants, and will be the swiftest, cheapest and most reliable way of delivering energy security. Bar none. We already have the least energy efficient housing stock in western Europe; every other western European government is set to expand similar schemes.”