In the 21st century it is hard to believe that so many homes in England are living in fuel poverty. People living in our communities across the country, are struggling to afford to heat their home and are living in cold damp homes.
There is funding available for free boiler replacements and insulation, to help pensioners as well as low-income families and others who are on means tested benefits, to reduce energy bills.
What is fuel poverty?
According to the Annual fuel poverty statistics report, 13.4%* of households in England were deemed to be living in fuel poverty in 2019.
A household is classed as being in fuel poverty if the household’s energy efficiency rating is Band D or below and their disposable income is below the poverty line.
The government fuel poverty target is to ensure that as many fuel poor homes achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C by 2030, with a focus on the installation of energy efficiency measures including insulation and boiler replacements.
What funding is available?
The government are looking to tackle fuel poverty through energy efficiency initiatives. One initiative, is the Energy Company Obligation, otherwise known as ECO. The Energy Company Obligation is designed to help save money on householder’s energy bills, reduce carbon emissions, and help the environment.
The Energy Company Obligation is an obligation placed by the government on to the energy companies to provide funding to qualifying households, for energy efficiency measures such as boiler replacements and insulation.
How do I qualify for funding?
If you are a low-income household on certain means-tested benefits and credits, you may be eligible for funding through the Energy Company Obligation.
You can see a full list of the qualifying benefits here.
You may also qualify for a free boiler and insulation, depending on the Local Authority area you live in. Local Authority Flex (LA Flex) is part of the Energy Company Obligation scheme. Your Local Authority can use flex to extend the criteria and help address specific needs of their residents.
I am a pensioner; will I qualify for a free boiler?
If you or someone in your household, is in receipt of Pension Guarantee Credit, you may be eligible for a free boiler through the Energy Company Obligation initiative.
You may be eligible if:
- You or someone in your household is in receipt of Pension Guarantee Credit. There are other qualifying benefits too.
- You own your own home.
- Your boiler is broken or older than 7 years.
If you are not in receipt of Pension Guarantee Credit, you may meet extended criteria set out by your Local Authority. This criterion laid out by each Local Authority will vary. Often, consideration is taken to those on low incomes, your health, age or simply the area you live in.
Dyson Energy Services has access to the Energy Company Obligation funding and has a vast number of partnerships with Local Authorities across the country, and therefore are well placed to provide guidance on how you could meet the qualifying criteria.
Will a boiler replacement save me money on my energy bills?
According to the Energy Saving Trust (EST), you could save up to £205 a year on your energy bills with a new boiler.
You could also benefit from:
- More efficient heating.
- Helps to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Improved living conditions which are vital to health and wellbeing.
Around one-third of the heat loss from most homes is through the walls and a quarter of heat is lost through the roof of an uninsulated home. It is recommended to ensure your home is adequately insulated, with loft insulation and cavity wall insulation for example, to maximise the benefits of any boiler or heating system you have installed.
You may be missing out on Pension Credit
According to a report compiled by Independent Age, it is estimated that more than 4 in 10 pensioner households (couples or single people) who are entitled to Pension Credit do not receive it.
Pension Credit gives you extra money to help with your living costs if you are over the State Pension age and on a low income.
You can visit Age UK for independent advice, to find out more about what pension credit is and how you could qualify. If you are eligible, Pension Credit will not only give you a bit of extra cash, but it could also help you get other benefits too.
*Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Fuel Poverty Statistics Report 2021 (2019 data)