Fuel poverty and affordable warmth

If you cannot afford to heat your home properly you may be suffering from fuel poverty and when your home isn't warm enough it could affect your health and quality of life.

The government’s Fuel Poverty Strategy aims to reduce fuel poverty and support households in need. This is so they can achieve affordable warmth.

The government has recently released 'Sustainable Warmth' policy. This is the updated Fuel Poverty Strategy for England. It sets out how fuel poverty will be tackled, while at the same time decarbonising buildings as part of the move towards net zero carbon emissions.

The Wakefield Affordable Warmth Charter

Our Charter vision aims to make sure everyone in the Wakefield district has a warm, healthy, and energy-efficient home, free from the threat of fuel poverty.

To achieve this, we collaborate with local partners as part of the Wakefield Fuel Poverty Partnership to fulfil the Charter's vision and goals.

The five Affordable Warmth Charter objectives are:

1. Energy efficient homes

Improving energy efficiency in homes is crucial in addressing fuel poverty. Energy-efficient homes are warmer and have lower fuel costs. Older properties with inadequate insulation and inefficient heating systems pose a challenge in keeping homes warm, increasing the risk of fuel poverty.

The most vulnerable to fuel poverty are:

  • those with low incomes
  • the elderly
  • disabled individuals
  • the sick
  • young families who urgently need warm and healthy homes

Cold and damp-related illnesses are common among households unable to afford fuel expenses for heating. The impact of cold homes on public health burdens the NHS with significant costs. However, investing in energy efficiency yields savings for health services, with every £1 invested resulting in a 42p saving.

Improvements in insulation and heating systems are the most effective way to improve home energy efficiency and achieve affordable warmth. Our ongoing Home Energy Efficiency Improvement Programme offers various schemes to assist households in the district. This ranges from free heating systems to discounted insulation and interest-free loans. There is something available for everyone.

Many of the Council's home energy efficiency improvement schemes and initiatives are outlined in its bi-annual Home Energy Conservation Act (1997) report.

2. Awareness and education

Simple and straightforward advice and education is an effective way to help households to change their behaviour. This will help people to save and better manage their home energy.

Households are also often not aware of the advice and support available. Most also don't realise they are entitled to help with energy efficiency improvements and maximising their income.

Raising awareness of the help available can make a big difference by putting more people in contact with the help available.

We provide energy advice to all local households over the phone or via email.  We also

  • deliver group presentations
  • attend community events
  • provide training for frontline workers

This activity raises awareness of how to save energy and be warmer in the home, and the support schemes available.

To book an awareness event, presentation or training session contact the Energy & Homeowner Support Team via the details in the 'Contact Us' section below.

We also provide regular updates and information about what energy and fuel poverty schemes and support are available via Facebook and Twitter, @WakefieldEnergy.

3. Affordable energy

Energy affordability is affected by household income, fuel prices and home energy efficiency.

Being smarter about how we buy energy can make a big difference. Households could on average save around £200 per year by switching suppliers.

Households using prepayment meters are also likely to be paying a higher rate. They may also have limited options to switch suppliers to access cheaper deals.

We know that 'income' is a key cause of fuel poverty in the District. There are many low-income households and many households don't access the benefits they are entitled to. These income-related factors affect a household's ability to affordably heat and make their home warm and healthy to live in.

We provide a package of free advice and support through the Money Smart scheme. This is to:

  • help households switch to cheaper energy tariffs
  • maximise their income
  • better manage their debt
  • access benefits

To apply contact the Money Smart Team via 01924 305892 or email moneysmart@wakefield.gov.uk.

The Council also provides support with fuel vouchers for people on a low income using pre-payment meters. This runs alongside other emergency payments through the Council's Welfare Provision.

Other national support for affordable energy includes:

4. Working with partners

Fuel poverty and cold homes can only effectively be tackled by a range of service and organisations working together. This helps to maximise and make the best use of the resources available and reach those in the greatest need.

Through the Wakefield Fuel Poverty Partnership a wide range of Council services and external organisations come together. This is to deliver home energy and fuel poverty initiatives across the District.

The Partnership oversees and coordinates the delivery of the Wakefield Affordable Warmth Charter. If your organisation believes that every resident in the Wakefield district deserves a warm and healthy home and is willing to contribute to this cause, we invite you to contact us and endorse the principles of the Charter.

By making this pledge, your organisation will receive the Wakefield Affordable Warmth Chartermark as a symbol of its commitment. Additionally, there is a possibility of being invited to join the Partnership.

5. Influencing the Affordable Warmth agenda

It is important that national, regional and local policy and initiatives reflect our local issues. This will best support our work to improve home energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty.

Raising awareness and promoting the importance of tackling fuel poverty with local politicians, policymakers and funders is an ongoing priority. This includes the Partnership contributing to consultation processes. This helps to influence emerging policy and as well as highlight our local fuel poverty priorities.

We actively represent Wakefield on important regional groups. This includes:

  • The National Energy Action Yorkshire and Humber Fuel Poverty Forum
  • The Association of Local Energy Officers East Pennine Forum

These are essential forums to share ideas and best practice, helping to develop new regional fuel poverty projects.

Fuel poverty is not an isolated issue. It links to other wider priorities, including:

  • low incomes
  • poor housing
  • health inequalities
  • general poverty issues

Therefore when addressing fuel poverty, we take a broad approach to maximise the benefits for local householders. We do this by providing complementary support for linked issues such as income maximisation and healthy housing conditions for example.

Contact Us

Home Energy Team Wakefield Council Wakefield One PO Box 700 Burton Street Wakefield WF1 2EB

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