EXCLUSIVE by Scottish Energy News
Fuel poverty, where a household can’t afford adequate heating, is a major issue in the UK. With 10.8% of households classified as fuel poor, and an average fuel poverty gap – the amount needed per household to achieve the minimum standard – of £371, and temperatures dropping quickly, much of the UK may be at risk.
With the exceptions of Portsmouth and St. Albans, none of the 50 most energy-inefficient towns and cities in the UK are in Scotland, Wales, and northern England. London is not listed on this index at all.
But Glasgow and Edinburgh are clearly suffering for their inefficiencies, making it into the UK Top 10 for both maps. High wastage potential and a wide gap mean they have the most to benefit from improving their energy efficiency and potentially switching energy provider.
The gap in fuel poverty varies drastically across the country, reaching as much as £557 in areas of Wales and as little as £256 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Even more pronounced is the difference in proportion of residents considered fuel poor.
The five worst afflicted cities in the UK are ranked as follows:
- Dundee – 28% of Dundee residents are considered fuel poor: they’re also fifth for energy waste, with a potential household wastage of £115.
- Glasgow – 26% are below the requirements for paying for their heating.
- Edinburgh – 25% of the Scottish capital are likely to be cold this winter.
- Aberdeen – the coastal city is likely to suffer even more from the sea winds and being the northernmost city on the list, as well as 24% of residents being fuel poor.
- Falkirk – 22% of the population are living in fuel poverty.
The most striking feature of the top five is that all of the cities are Scottish; those with the least problem tend to be those closer to the south of England. But Scotland’s average fuel gap is £437 – still less than several cities in the South West of England, including Bristol and Plymouth.
Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “It is upsetting to think of so many households in fuel poverty where some of the most significant ways of helping this are not being taken advantage of.
“Many of these households will still be on the most expensive tariffs and could save hundreds of pounds a year by switching, even to a tariff from the same supplier. For those most struggling, many suppliers have schemes and initiatives to help.
“So the advice has to be to do a comparison and switch to a cheaper tariff (get someone to help you if you are unsure what to do) and always keep in touch with your supplier on ways they can help you”
These high energy costs severely affect the quality of life for many people. To see how energy waste has an impact on fuel poverty, and get an insight into how you might be able to save on your energy bills, have a look at the maps here.
- Fuel Poverty in Northern Ireland, 2009
- Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics Report, 2015
- Sub-Regional Fuel Poverty England, 2014
- Fuel Poverty Statistics, Detailed Tables, 2014
- Scottish House Condition Survey 2008/2010
- Wales Fuel Poverty Projection Tool 2011/2012 Report