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Fuel poverty and disabled people

10 February 2015

Two new research reports have been published looking at fuel poverty and disabled people

One from Leicester university’s Centre for Consumers and Essential Services considers the difficulties many disabled people face meeting energy costs alongside other additional costs of disability; and the other from York University’s departments of social policy and housing policy considers the impact of recent policy reforms on disabled people’s ability to meet energy costs.  The reports found that: -

  • Disabled people are at significant risk of fuel policy particularly in the light of recent policy and benefit changes
  • Recent changes in the definition of fuel poverty has had the effect of reducing the number of disabled people who are considered ‘fuel poor’ but in reality there are many disabled people on low incomes struggling with energy costs even if they don’t feature in the official statistics
  • Policy makers and practitioners need to recognise the diverse, nuanced and fluctuating needs of disabled people and provide adequate support
  • The assumption that disability related benefits can be used to meet all additional energy costs is flawed given the many other claims being made on these benefits
  • The Warm Home Discount Scheme administered by the energy companies is confusing and not accessible to many disabled people
  • Housing conditions in the private rented sector need to be tackled to reduce fuel consumption and increase efficiency
  • Urgent attention should be given to the suitability of pre=payment meters in terms of usability and the risks of self-disconnection.

The two reports can be found here: http://www.eagacharitabletrust.org/projects