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Tens of thousands living in 'fuel poverty' in Surrey

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Tens of thousands living in 'fuel poverty' in Surrey

Published by Carol Musgrave at 12:49pm 18th September 2019.

New statistics show nearly 8% of households in Surrey face a fuel poverty crisis, unable to pay their energy bills.

A government report has released figures for 2017, showing 7.7% or 37,437 homes in the county are 'fuel poor' - meaning heir energy costs are above average and their remaining disposable income after paying bills puts them below the poverty line.

Nationally, one in 10, or 2.53 million households are living in fuel poverty, a decrease of just 0.2% since the 2016 report.
The average fuel poverty gap -  the reduction in energy bills that the average fuel poor household needs to come out of fuel poverty - is £321. 

However, rural areas are disproportionately affected with the figure rising to £571, nearly double that of urban areas.
This is largely due to rural homes typically being older and poorly insulated, making them more expensive to keep warm.

 The report also highlights a lower uptake of energy efficiency improvements. 
In response to the findings, the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) which represents the oil heating industry, is urging the government to provide more support for rural households.
The association's Malcolm Farrow said: "Whilst current temperatures provide a summer respite, in a few months' time when the winter weather returns, keeping warm and managing energy bills will once again become a source of concern for many households. It is shocking that in 2019 so many people still cannot afford the basic human right of living in a warm house."
The report also highlights that fuel costs for the least efficient properties (Band G) are three times higher than those of the most efficient (Band A). 

As a result, those living in Band G properties are twice as likely to be fuel poor - despite many rural households relying on oil heating which is the cheapest option for those living off the gas grid.
Mr Farrow added: "A key issue we need to address is improving the energy efficiency of our housing stock which is some of the worst in Europe.

"This can be achieved through better insulation and upgrading to modern boilers which are more efficient and cheaper to run." 

He said financial support from the government is available for the poorest households.

More information and advice can be found here.



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