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One in three in fuel poverty

More than one in three Scottish households are suffering from fuel poverty, a new survey shows. A household is defined as in fuel poverty if more than 10 per cent of the household income is spent on energy. If a household spends more than 20 per cent of its income on energy it is then classed as being in extreme fuel poverty.
Energy, prices in Scotland have risen four times faster than household incomes since 2003, plunging an increasing number of people into difficult situations.
Big Energy Switch campaign director Michael Stewart saidthe survey was a reminder of the “real crisis” which is taking place across the country. He said:  “This survey highlights the huge level of financial strain spiralling energy prices are placing on household budgets in Scotland. The fact that one in three households are now in fuel poverty means much more needs to be done to help families meet the ever-rising cost of energy bills. Sometimes it takes cold hard statistics like these to remind us that com…

The Real Cold War

Fuel poverty is defined as needing to pay more than 10 per cent of income on fuel bills while those in extreme fuel poverty spend more than 20% of income.  Charities have hit out at the big energy suppliers and the Scottish Government for not doing enough for the most vulnerable in society, especially in the winter months.
Fuel poverty has reached its highest level in a decade, with rising energy prices meaning that almost two out of five homes in Scotland are now suffering from the problem. Scottish Government figures for 2013 showed that 940,000 households across the country were classed as being in fuel poverty - a rise of about 100,000 from the previous year. There were 39.1% of households in fuel poverty last year - a rise of almost four percent from 2012 and more than double the total of 16% that were affected in 2003-04. Some 10.5% of households were suffering from extreme fuel poverty in 2013 - up from 9.4% the previous year.
David Stewart, of the Scottish Federation of Housi…

The poor once again pay the rich

The Duke of Roxburghe could net £1.5 million a year from a wind farm on the Lammermuir Hills. The Earl of Moray is estimated to receive £2 million a year from a wind farm near Stirling. The Earl of Glasgow could be earning upwards of £300,000 a year from turbines on his Kelburn estate. These hang-overs from our feudal past earn large sums by renting their land to wind-turbine energy firms whose wind farms are in turn subsidised by extra levies on ordinary electricity consumers.


Alison Elliot, chair of the Land Reform Review Group (LRRG), said the issue would be investigated amid concerns that aristocrats are benefiting from the renewables revolution while the poor grapple with fuel­poverty. Dr Elliot told Sir Robert Clerk of Penicuik, a consultant for Smith Gore and a landowner at the centre of a storm over plans for wind turbines on his estate: “Land is implicated in providing food, space for housing and in overcoming fuel poverty.“We are an energy rich country so why do we have fu…

A cold winter

During winter 2010-11 over 25,000 more people died in the UK compared with non-winter periods. Many of these deaths can be directly attributed to fuel poverty. Around four million households in the UK currently suffer from fuel poverty.

£8m profit every day but Scottish Gas bills are due to rise again. Millions of Scots face a winter of rising fuel bills, as the UK’s largest energy supplier is today expected to announce an inflation-busting increase for gas and electricity charges. A 9 per cent increase by Scottish and Southern Energy will come into effect on Monday next week, and other major suppliers have refused to rule out a similar rise.

Citizens Advice Scotland said it was growing increasingly concerned about low-income families this winter. Margaret Lynch, chief executive, said: “We know that at least one-third of Scots are already living in fuel poverty."

Robina Qureshi, of the charity Positive Action in Housing, said: “More and more people are just keeping their houses co…

Gas going up

British Gas owner Centrica warned a 15 per cent rise in the wholesale cost of gas could be passed on to consumers which could add £50 a year to average bills. If the 15 per cent increase is passed on to consumers, it could mean a £128 a year increase, taking average bills to £1,388.

 Audrey Gallacher, director of energy at Consumer Focus, said "... the perception is that suppliers are quick to pass on high price rises and slow to pass on small price cuts."

Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com, said: “This is deeply worrying as consumers are still struggling to come to terms with the £224 or 21 per cent increase in bills from the end of 2010 and only enjoyed a £41 or 3.2 per cent reduction at the beginning of this year. Any further increases will see even more people seriously struggling to afford their bills."
 http://www.scotsman.com/business/energy-and-utilities/gas-prices-to-rocket-by-15-millions-of-families-warned-1-2290123

Not so cool

Almost a million households in Scotland will now be in fuel poverty after the last of the major suppliers announced a second price rise in less than a year.
Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com, said: “We are in danger of seeing energy becoming an unaffordable luxury for the few instead of a household basic for the many. As a result many households are being forced to make unpalatable and sometimes even dangerous choices."

FUELLING POVERTY

Scotland is on course for “crisis levels” of fuel poverty with one in four struggling to pay their bills, it was claimed. Nearly one third of all homes north of the Border are now classed as “fuel poor” when the cost of rising bills is set against family incomes, according to a Government report.

750,000 Scottish households live below the fuel poverty line. This is where households spend more than 10% of their income on keeping warm. And 900,000 could soon be below the line due to recent rises.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/fuel-poverty-crisis-warning-scottish-fuel-poverty-crisis-warning-1.1112254

sticking plaster remedies

Thousands of people in Dumfries and Galloway are suffering from fuel poverty. Figures put before members of the housing sub-committee showed that 41 per cent of households are in fuel poverty – the third highest level of all local authorities in Scotland. The Scottish average is 28 per cent.

Dumfries councillor Ronnie Nicholson explained “Dumfries and Galloway has a problem with sub-standard housing which is why the figures for this area are so high compared to elsewhere in the country. There is a lot of social housing in the region with inadequate heating and insulation, there are also a lot of old farmhouses and cottages in rural areas suffering from the same problem.” He added: “Fuel poverty is a significant problem in the region and I fear that our solutions are only a sticking plaster as the Government do not have the funds to properly tackle the issue.”

Travellers Beware

According to the AA the average price of a litre of fuel in Britain will rise from £1.26 to £1.30 on January 4. American householders are now typically paying a fraction of the price at just over 50p a litre, according to the latest figures. And EU figures show fuel prices in Britain have been the highest in Europe. This time last year petrol was at £1.08 a litre and diesel at £1.09. In Stornoway, the typical price of a litre of unleaded will go up from £1.37 to over £1.40 with diesel up from £1.39 to £1.43.
Luke Bosdet, of the AA, said: “The facts are that fuel is being taxed like a luxury item such as champagne. But it is a necessity for everyone, from the youngster starting his first job, to volunteer drivers, to cabbies, and lorry drivers. The duty on fuel is an unfair tax as it hits everyone the same. There is no means-testing built in so it affects people that can least afford it. Enough is enough.”


Inflation-busting rises in rail fares took effect yesterday with some mainline se…

fuel poverty increases

A third of Scots households are unable to keep their homes warm, according to Scottish government figures.

In 2009, about 770,000 homes were said to be in fuel poverty, spending over 10% of income on heating, compared with 618,000 in 2008 and 293,000 in 2002. The figures from the Scottish House Condition Survey also indicated that the number of households in "extreme fuel poverty" had risen from 3% in 2002 to 10% in 2009.

Charities claim that the governement target to effectively abolish fuel poverty by 2016 is not likely to be achieved if current trends continue.

(A household is considered to be in fuel poverty if it would be required to spend more than 10% of its income to adequately heat its home, and in extreme fuel poverty if it would have to spend more than 20%.)

capital fuel poverty

Nearly one in four Edinburgh residents fear they will be unable to afford to heat their home, in another sign of the impact of the economic downturn and rising energy bills said an authoritative survey of more than 1000 residents commissioned by the city council.

Elizabeth Gore, a spokeswoman for Energy Action Scotland, the national charity that aims to eliminate fuel poverty, said:
"It is a worry, especially as people start to think ahead to the winter. We would be concerned about people not being able to afford to heat their homes." She said that, while elderly groups and parents with young children remained the groups affected most by "fuel poverty", many other groups - such as young people in rented accommodation - were also struggling to pay their bills.

Profiting from the poor

Consumer Focus said it estimated power suppliers were making up to £550 million a year in extra charges from people on pre-payment meters. Typical customers using the devices were often those on the lowest incomes . Energy firms were using customers who pay for their gas or electricity through pre-payment meters to help subsidise cheaper deals for others.

"The energy companies are making the most money out of those on pre-payment meters and often those are the people on the very lowest incomes." said CF spokesperson

Energy awareness group National Energy Action said pre-payment metered customers paid on average £359 more a year than those with normal meters. This contrasts with the extra annual cost of between £85 and £100 to maintain the pre-payment boxes - a sum estimated by energy industry regulator Ofgem.

An NEA spokeswoman also added: "Once you are in debt you are effectively blocked from switching to cheaper deals."

Investors first and foremost

On Wednesday, British Gas raised gas bills by 35% with immediate effect, to restore "reasonable profitability".
Profits were £992m in the first six months of 2008 , £5m-per-day profits .
"This is a business that has got a million shareholders - a lot of pension funds and people have got their savings invested in British Gas shares and we have to look after them".Centrica's chief executive said.

One-in-three pensioners are likely to be in fuel poverty this winter Age Concern's head of public affairs said.

another failed reform target

Ministers have been accused of doing too little to cut the bills of 4.5 million people suffering fuel poverty despite promising extra help for the most needy households. Campaigners said almost one in five householders were living in fuel poverty and that ministers faced missing targets for eliminating fuel poverty by 2016.

Dave Prentis, Unison's general secretary, said many of his members were forced to choose between food and heating last winter.

Campaigners, union leaders and opposition MPs dismissed as inadequate a package of measures announced to cut the number of people forced to spend more than 10 per cent of their income on fuel bills.

Poor Energy Bills

The big six energy companies are charging the poorest customers up to £330 a year more for gas and electricity, it emerged last night.

Tariffs for prepayment meters, used typically by pensioners and the less well-off, are up to 45 per cent higher than for internet customers. The industry watchdog branded the practice a £400 million rip-off. The gap between the tariffs has grown after a round of inflation-beating price rises across the sector . Figures compiled by Energy-watch, the watchdog, show that on average prepayment customers are charged £255 a year more than online customers for power, compared with £190 before Christmas. E.ON’s prepayment charge is an average of £1,097 – 45 per cent higher than its internet tariff of £769. British Gas charges its prepayment customers 30 per cent more.

Graham Kerr, of Energywatch, said:

“We have hard evidence of £400 million of excess profits being taken off the poorest members of society just at a time when fuel poverty is continuing to rise. Ins…

British Gas Prices

Latest estimates put 4.5 million UK households in fuel poverty; spending more than 10 per cent of their income on gas and electricity. Just one month after British Gas increased energy bills by 15 per cent British Gas, the country's biggest energy supplier, is expected to announce a 500 per cent rise in profits today.

"It's quite sickening when companies make these huge profits while, at the same time, we are expecting 25,000 excess winter deaths as a result of people not being able to keep warm,"said Lesley Davies, the chairman of the National Right to Fuel Campaign. "They prattle on about the winter fuel payments for pensioners but there are just as many single-parent families and others who cannot get the payment."

And like other businesses it isn't only the customer that is suffering but also the employees - The GMB union complained that as well as "fleecing its customers and making record profits" British Gas was scrapping its final-salar…

Fuel Poverty Again

Another contribution to the exposure of the problem of fuel poverty facing workers .

Nearly one in five families with children cannot afford to heat their homes because of rising energy bills, research has shown.

Around 19% of people with children under 17 admitted they were unable to keep their homes warm because of the cost of gas and electricity, according to Save the Children UK.

The group found that a further 15% of households had been forced to cut back on food, while the same proportion spent less on essential clothing in order to be able to pay their fuel bills.

The problem was twice as acute among the UK's poorest families, with 44% of households living off less than £15,000 a year saying they could not afford to heat their homes.

It found that paying for gas and electricity in this way was on average 26% more expensive than paying by direct debit, leaving the country's poorest families paying an extra £215 a year on average.It said British Gas had the biggest price diff…

Another Failed Target

Further to the previous posting , the target to end fuel poverty in England by 2010 will be missed, according to Government's advisers .
The Fuel Poverty Advisory Group says more than a million vulnerable households will spend more than a tenth of their income on fuel by 2010.
"The Government's policies and lack of action have now made it impossible to meet the target" said the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group

Customers using prepayment meters for gas and electricity paid £140 a year more than those paying by direct debit or online. Those paying by cash or cheque faced bills of about £70 more than those on direct debit, said the group.