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Fuel poverty strategy

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Reducing poverty, particularly persistent poverty, in some of our poorest areas and communities is at the centre of the Welsh Government’s policy agenda.
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A household is in fuel poverty if they spend 10% or more of their net income on energy costs. This strategy sets out the actions we intend to take to reduce fuel poverty.

The structure of a building, its insulation and type of heating system help determine its energy efficiency and the costs to heat it. Those householders likely to be fuel poor are those:

  • living in private rented accommodation
  • single person households
  • unemployed/economically inactive households.

Tackling fuel poverty will be challenging due to the poor housing stock in many areas and the rural nature of much of Wales. Houses built before 1918  usually have solid walls, which have poor thermal (heat) properties so they can be harder to heat and more costly to improve. Houses built before 1975 have higher fuel costs as they are thermally inefficient. Over half of rural  households do not use mains gas as their main heating fuel (compared to just 5% in urban areas). Almost a third of households in rural areas use heating oil as their main heating fuel. On average, heating oil costs around 30% more than mains gas. But seasonal changes to the cost of oil can mean that it is often a lot more expensive than this.

We published this Fuel Poverty Strategy in July 2010. It sets out the actions we will take to address fuel poverty in Wales. In this strategy, we committed to developing a new demand-led fuel poverty scheme. We called this scheme Nest. Unlike our previous Home Energy Efficiency scheme (HEES) it more effectively targets fuel poor households and offers more measures to help households living in off-gas, hard to treat homes.

We have an obligation to get rid of fuel poverty, as far as is practical:

  • in vulnerable households by 2010
  • in social housing by 2012
  • in all households by 2018