PM must protect vital fuel poverty measure in the face of soaring energy bills

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CEE have joined over 30 organisations to urge the new Prime Minister to protect vital fuel poverty scheme as part of her drive to reduce household bills against the backdrop of a cost-of-living crisis.

Leading organisations in the energy efficiency, social welfare, built environment and healthcare sectors have written to the Prime Minister highlighting the benefits of the UK’s flagship scheme to reduce fuel poverty, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).

This obligation funds measures to improve the least energy-efficient homes occupied by low-income and vulnerable households, including the elderly. It has delivered 3.1 million insulation and heating measures to over 2.3 million households.

Yet, during the Conservative leadership campaign, it was touted that Truss’ much-discussed moratorium on ‘green levies’ could extend to this obligation.

Signatories of this letter, including the likes of Age UK, Citizens Advice and National Energy Action, believe that maintaining this obligation, a scheme that addresses the root cause of fuel poverty and lowers energy bills, must remain an imperative. Asserting that to reduce or scale back ECO would be short-termist and a backward step that would leave the poorest even more exposed to high energy bills.”

The benefits of this obligation are clear - “delivering average savings of £290 per annum for each household.  For some older households, the savings have been even greater, delivering a reduction of up to 50% on energy bills.  With the recent energy prices, the actual savings are even higher.”

Vulnerable households, particularly elderly, across the UK are facing huge challenges. Energy bills have risen by 178% from last winter's level and are expected to increase further. This letter argues that the package of support needs to be targeted and a scheme that keeps homes warm and bills down needs to be recognised.

Rather than being part of the problem, leading charities representing the sectors Truss will be looking to support, believe that “ECO is part of the solution to high energy prices by permanently reducing the cost of heating for vulnerable older households.”

“The cost of ECO amounts to less than 52p a week to energy bills.  Yet, it provides crucial help for the most vulnerable in our society.  Suspending ECO would bring few benefits but create substantial hardships for older households and the most vulnerable.”

Upon her victory as Prime Minister, Truss stipulated that her main priorities will be to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and to reunite the party after a viciously fought campaign. With gas and electricity bills predicted to soar on October 1st, British people will be expecting to see Truss’ government tackle the economic crisis as a top priority. The scrapping of this obligation, to many of its supporters, would be directly contradictory to this.

 Signed by:

  • Adecoe
  • Age UK
  • Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE)
  • Association of Charitable Organisations
  • Cenergist
  • Centre for Sustainable Energy
  • Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
  • Citizens Advice (Gillian Cooper, Head of Energy Policy)
  • Community Energy England
  • Daniel Nemeni (Social Commentator)
  • Dr Martin Freer (personal capacity – Director, Heat Commission & Director of the Birmingham Energy Institute)
  • End Fuel Poverty Coalition
  • Energy Action Scotland
  • Federation of Master Builders
  • Fuel Poverty Action
  • Fuel Poverty Research Network (FPRN)
  • Generation Rent
  • Greater Manchester Poverty Action
  • Group Source Heat Pump Association
  • Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust (HACT)
  • InstaGroup
  • Kensa Group
  • National Energy Foundation
  • National Insulation Association
  • Northern Housing Consortium
  • Parity Projects
  • Parkinson’s UK
  • Policy in Practice
  • Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
  • Saving Energy UK
  • Scarf
  • South Coast Insulation Services
  • South East Wales Energy Agency
  • The Childhood Trust
  • Warm Wales

 For more information about this initiative please contact -