Editor Pick’s | Fuel Poverty Monitor reveals systemic challenges in Northern Ireland

This article was originally published on 8 October 2019 in Energy Spectrum Ireland

On 17 September, EAS and National Energy Action (NEA) published The Fuel Poverty Monitor 2018/19. It highlighted that stakeholders in Northern Ireland have shown an interest in energy efficiency and affordability, however, several barriers to entry remain.

Affecting 24.9% of households in Scotland, 22% in Northern Ireland, 12% in Wales and 10.9% of households in England, three different approaches to how fuel poverty is defined and measured in the UK has created ongoing complexities in addressing its scale. Such barriers include fluctuating energy prices and income stagnation; demand outweighing supply; wholesale energy prices and an overreliance on oil which is limiting the affordability of energy for fuel-poor households, the report stated.

Additionally, challenges included insufficient resource to deliver energy efficiency improvements (even with area-based schemes); a lack of resource to cover revenue costs associated with the delivery of energy efficiency and advice to vulnerable households; difficulties associated with improving energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector and falling incomes. Existing available data also is also unable to capture all households in need.

In Northern Ireland and Wales, households are defined to be in fuel poverty if they spend over 10% of their income on fuel, whereas the government is looking to move away from the Low Income High Cost definition in England, to one which looks towards the efficiency rating of a property, in combination with the current relative measure on income. Whilst this will categorise a further million households as fuel poor in EPC bands D – G, it will reclassify up to 200,000 households living in Band C or above. On the other hand, the new fuel poverty definition in Scotland states that a household is in fuel poverty if the fuel costs are over 10% of its net income.

Related thinking

Low carbon generation

Government publishes Ireland’s Climate Action Plan 2023

This article is an extract from our Energy Spectrum Ireland service, which is a monthly publication and weekly news bulletin covering key developments in the Irish and Northern Irish energy sectors. If you are interested, we are currently offering a free trial which you can sign up to by filling...

Home supply and services

Windfall taxes are not the only solution to the energy crisis

The energy market is in a state of transition, with geopolitical concerns threatening to undermine energy security and subsequent wholesale energy rises pushing up bills. It is inevitable that policymakers will look at how best to deliver an affordable energy system for consumers. The temporary, targeted energy profits levy, or...

Heat networks

Heat and buildings strategy: Key points

On 19 October, the government released the Heat and Buildings strategy outlining how the government will tackle the decarbonisation of the built environment to help meet the UK net zero ambition. Our experts have taken a quick look at the strategy and highlighted the key points. Heating The strategy makes...

Low carbon generation

Up north and down south – trends for generator TNUoS charging

The topic of generator Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) is becoming a subject of increasing interest for stakeholders as regulation, policy, and the generation mix create potential volatility for future charging trends. The significant costs posed through TNUoS are an important consideration for generators, with high variability between regions...

Low carbon generation

Let markets run or regulate to accelerate: a false choice or key net zero decision?

Earlier this week Cornwall Insight convened a group of industry leaders from across the energy and investment space to discuss business preparedness for net zero, and what more can be done to unlock capital to make net zero a reality. The session, hosted by our non-executive chairman Volker Beckers, is...

Commercial and market outlook

The PM’s 10-point plan

Late yesterday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out his much-trailed 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution. In the plan, he announced a series of new funding and ambition announcements covering transport, hydrogen, energy efficiency, carbon capture, offshore wind, nuclear and green finance. Transport For transport, the PM announced long-term...

Commercial and market outlook

Changes: how our Spectrum service is evolving

This article was originally published on 9 June 2020 in our ‘Energy Spectrum Ireland’ publication.  Since Cornwall Insight launched the Energy Spectrum Ireland Service in 2015, it has been providing insight on key developments in the energy markets in Ireland. With the macro market trends of decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitilisation,...


Water sector adapts quickly to COVID-19 crisis

The GB water sector, like almost every sector in the UK, has not escaped from the pressures posed by the COVID-19 crisis. In this article, we present the approaches taken by the respective regulators in England & Wales (Ofwat) and in Scotland (WICS), and MOSL (the market operator for England...