There are currently 2.38 million households in the UK classed as ‘fuel poor’, meaning they can’t afford to keep adequately warm at a reasonable cost given their income. This represents a 1.4% increase on last year’s figures – with rural areas disproportionately affected as houses are typically older, poorly insulated and harder to heat.
In response OFTEC, the UK trade body for oil heating, is running a week-long Heat Well, Save Well campaign (6 March to 10 March), calling on the government to provide more support for households struggling to keep warm in the cold weather.
Malcolm Farrow, from OFTEC, said: “It is shocking that in 2017, far from tackling the issue of fuel poverty we are actually seeing an increase in the number of people unable to afford the most basic need of keeping themselves warm. The government needs to act and help those who are most vulnerable, especially at this time of year when temperatures plummet.”
As part of the campaign, OFTEC is offering advice to households in the form of simple steps they can take to save money on their fuel bills, including:
- Regularly check the timers on your heating controls to ensure your house warms up at the correct time
- Remember to turn off radiators in rooms you are not using
- Bleed your radiators to increase their efficiency and make sure items such as furniture are not blocking the heat from warming up the room
- Have your boiler serviced by an OFTEC (for oil) or GasSafe (for mains gas) registered technician once a year to check it is working correctly and efficiently
Malcolm Farrow added: “With our Heat Well, Save Well campaign we hope to raise awareness of the often forgotten issue of fuel poverty and offer advice on keeping warm and saving money. Unfortunately, for many households, this is still not enough which is why we are urging the government to provide additional, much needed support.”
More information and advice on keeping warm this winter can be found at www.oilsave.org.uk.
*Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics Report, ONS June 2016