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Fuel poverty

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Nest is designed to support households in fuel poverty.
The aim of this technical document was to highlight the changes in fuel poverty levels in Wales since the 2008 Living in Wales property survey.
Reducing poverty, particularly persistent poverty, in some of our poorest areas and communities is at the centre of the Welsh Government’s policy agenda.

A household in Wales is in fuel poverty if they spend 10% or more of their income on energy costs, including Housing Benefit, Income Support or Mortgage Interest or council tax benefits on energy costs.

A household is in severe fuel poverty if they have to spend 20% or more of their income on energy costs.

People who struggle to heat their homes warm usually have low incomes and are often the most vulnerable people in our communities.  The latest estimate is that there are 291,000 households living in fuel poverty equivalent to  23%  of households in Wales.

Dealing with fuel poverty

Improving the energy efficiency of a property can make a big difference to a householder’s energy bills and also helps the householder become more resilient to future energy price rises. Additionally by providing access to energy advice and other support including Benefit Entitlement Checks and referrals to the Warm Home Discount provision of energy and monetary advice can also help tackle fuel poverty.

The Welsh Government Warm Homes - Nest is a demand led fuel poverty scheme that started in April 2011. Welsh Government is committing a total investment from April 2011 until 31 August 2017 of over £120  million to improve the energy efficiency of low income households that meet the schemes eligibility criteria and energy advice and support for any householder in Wales calling the Nest helpline. Call the Freephone number 0808 808 2244 or visit the Nest Website (external link) for help and advice.

Nest is complemented by our area-based schemes known as Arbed. Arbed funds the installation of energy efficiency measures being delivered in deprived communities across Wales by local authorities  

We are helping low income and vulnerable households to reduce their energy bills and heat their homes more affordably through our Nest scheme. Watch a video on how the Nest scheme has helped one household (external link).

The Nest scheme is managed for us by British Gas. Cold calling is not undertaken by the scheme. The scheme expects to help up to 15,000 households each year with energy advice and support on:

  • ways to save energy and make your home more energy efficient
  • energy tariffs and to ensure you are on the most appropriate tariff for your situation
  • benefit entitlement checks.

Nest also expects to help 4,000 households each year by improving the energy efficiency of privately owned and privately rented properties for those who meet the eligibility criteria:

  • that the householder or someone they live with receives a means tested benefit,
  • live in a privately owned or privately rented home
  • the property is very energy inefficient with an Energy Performance Certificate rating of E, F or G.

The energy efficiency measures package installed at an eligible property could include:

  • central heating
  • new boiler
  • loft or cavity wall insulation
  • external  wall insulation
  • renewable technologies
  • biomass system
  • air source heat pump system

Welsh Government is also encouraging energy efficiency improvements in social housing through the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS).

The future

The contract for the Nest scheme ends on 31 August 2017. On 27 July 2016 Welsh Government announced the 12 week public consultation seeking views on a successor scheme to Nest.

The introduction of Smart Metering has the potential to help those living in fuel poverty.

Smart meters in domestic properties

Smart meters are being rolled-out nationally and the UK Government plans for every home and business in Great Britain ( England, Scotland and Wales)  to have a smart meter for electricity and gas by the end of 2020. A smart meter will be offered to each householder in Great Britain by their energy supplier, and although installation is not compulsory, energy companies will be encouraging all householders to install a smart meter.

Smart Meter Energy GB has been appointed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change to be the national consumer campaign for smart meters. See the Smart Energy GB website (external link) for more information.