Fuel Poverty & Energy Efficiency Timeline

1980s

Growing pressure to respond to evidence that low indoor temperatures severely affect physical health. Community schemes established to install loft insulation in homes.

1983

Charity Neighbourhood Energy Action (NEA) founded in the North East of England. In 1986, the charity becomes National Energy Action (NEA) reflecting national recognition of the importance of tackling cold homes

1991

The Government launches the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES) to provide grants for insulation measures in low income homes.

1994

Office of Electricity Regulation (Offer, now Ofgem) introduces the first GB-wide energy efficiency supplier obligation on electricity suppliers, the Energy Efficiency Standards of Performance (EESoP) programme, administered by a new quango, the Energy Saving Trust.

1995

The All Party Parliamentary Warm Homes Group is established, now named the All-Party Parliamentary Fuel Poverty & Energy Efficiency Group

1997

Winter Fuel Payments (currently worth up to £300) introduced to help pensioners pay their fuel bills. The benefit is paid annually and is not means tested.

1999

The Government sets up an Inter-Ministerial Group on Fuel Poverty to take a strategic overview of the relevant policies and initiatives with a bearing on fuel poverty

2000

A cross party private member’s Bill, the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act, becomes law following support by the Labour Government. The Act requires the UK government to produce a strategy within one year which sets out its plans for eliminating fuel poverty within 15 years. An independent Fuel Poverty Advisory Group is established to monitor and advise the government on progress towards meeting its fuel poverty target.

2000

EESoP closes

2000

The Warm Front scheme replaces HEES in England and for the first time is intended to explicitly tackle fuel poverty. The scheme provides grants for heating and insulation measures to owner occupier and private rental households.

2000

The Welsh Assembly Government introduces the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES). The scheme provides grants for heating and insulation measures to low income households in both private and social housing.

2001

The first UK Fuel Poverty Strategy sets out the UK government’s plans to eradicate fuel poverty across England, as far as reasonably practicable, in vulnerable households by 2010 and in all households by 2016. The Strategy emphasises the role of declining fuel prices in reducing fuel poverty, assumed to take place through competitive energy markets, as well as improving energy efficiency standards.

2001

The Decent Homes Standard is introduced to improve conditions within social housing against a backdrop of a large backlog of repairs. Social housing providers are required to meet the standard, which includes modest energy efficiency requirements, by 2010. Significantly, it does not include the caveat ‘as far as reasonably practicable’.

2001

The government backs pilot Warm Zones, now a subsidiary community interest company of NEA, to deliver energy efficiency measures to low income households in deprived areas

2001

The Housing (Scotland) Act  requires the Scottish Government to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland as far as is practicable by November 2016. The main programmes for achieving this are the Warm Deal and Central Heating Programme grant schemes for private sector households and the Scottish Home Quality Standard for social housing.

2002

Following a two year delay, the Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC), replaces EESoP and for the first time covers gas as well as electricity. It becomes the main programme to increase energy efficiency in GB across all households.

2003

The Welsh Government publishes ‘A Fuel Poverty Commitment for Wales’. This sets out targets to eliminate fuel poverty among vulnerable households by 2010, in social housing by 2012 and across all households by 2018. The social housing target is to be met by requiring all social housing to meet a Welsh Housing Quality Standard by 2012.

2004

The UK government introduces the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to help local authorities in England and Wales take action against unhealthy homes. ‘Excessive cold’ is classified as a Category 1 hazard. The system is mainly used to police private rental housing.

2005

EEC is replaced by a new obligation on energy suppliers to reduce CO2 emissions in the domestic sector, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT)

2008

The Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) is introduced. This requires suppliers and for the first time generators to install energy efficiency measures in deprived areas. Energy companies are encouraged to establish partnerships with councils and voluntary organisations.

2008

The Low Carbon Buildings Programme is introduced in England to fund the installation of microgeneration technologies in deprived communities

2008

Friends of the Earth and Help the Aged, concerned about the rapid growth in fuel poverty since 2005 (mainly resulting from rising fuel prices), launch a judicial review against the UK government. The legal challenge claims that the government had not done all that was reasonably practicable to eliminate fuel poverty in England. The challenge was not successful.

2009

The Scottish Government introduces the Energy Assistance Package to replace Warm Deal and the Central Heating Programme. The package includes grants for renewable heating for off-gas homes, as well as conventional heating and insulation measures.

2010

The Welsh Government publishes the Fuel Poverty Strategy for Wales. This describes two new schemes for tackling fuel poverty: Nest, which replaces HEES, and Arbed – an area-based programme that receives substantial EU funding.

2010

Introduction of the Warm Homes Discount – a requirement on electricity suppliers to provide a rebate on electricity bills (currently £140) to a core group of low income pensioners and a broader group of other low income households. The core group is defined by statute and includes a data matching arrangement between DWP and suppliers so that households receive the discount automatically. Suppliers have some discretion over which households fall in the ‘broader group’.

2010

The Comprehensive Spending Review of the new Coalition Government commits to an Independent Review of fuel poverty in England and also announces the phasing out Warm Front in England by 2013. This effectively ends over 30 years of public funding for energy efficiency grants for low income households.

2011

Provision for Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) introduced. ECO replaces CERT and CESP. The Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO, also known as ‘Affordable Warmth’) element of ECO is also intended to replace Warm Front in England. HHCRO effectively provides subsidies for replacement central heating boilers. The Carbon Saving Communities Obligation (CSCO) replaces CESP and is targeted at deprived areas.

2012

Publication of the Independent Review of Fuel Poverty in England led by Professor John Hills. This recommends the UK Government replaces the ‘10% measure of fuel poverty’ with a the ‘Low Income High Costs’ (LIHC) indicator. It also proposes a second measure, the ‘fuel poverty gap’ to reflect the severity of fuel poverty experienced by fuel poor households. ’The government adopts the new measures which now apply in England. The devolved nations retain the 10% definition.

2013

Scotland introduces the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS) to replace the Energy Assistance Package. The bulk of funding goes towards a new area based scheme led by local authorities. Funding is also provided for a grant scheme (Energy Assistance Scheme) which is intended to complement the Affordable Warmth element of ECO.

2013

The Green Deal, a ‘Pay as You Save’ scheme in which savings from energy efficiency measures are used to pay for installation of the measures plus interest, is officially launched for able to pay households. The launch promises to renovate 14 million homes. The Carbon Emissions Saving Obligation (CERO) element of ECO is intended to complement Green Deal by providing subsidies for solid wall insulation

2014

The UK Government announce major changes to ECO including reducing the targets by over 30 per cent, effectively resulting in a substantial cut in support for solid wall insulation.

2014

The UK Government introduces the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) Regulations in England and Wales. After 2016, private landlords will not be able to unreasonably refuse requests from tenants for energy efficiency improvements, where financial support is available from national and local schemes. From 2018, private landlords will need to ensure their properties reach a standard of at least EPC E, providing improvements can be paid for through Green Deal or other schemes.

2015

The Fuel Poverty Strategy for England introduces a new target to improve the homes of fuel poor households, as far as reasonably practicable, to EPC Band ‘C’ by 2030, with interim milestones of EPC E by 2020 and EPC D by 2025. It also includes provisions for establishing a new Fuel Poverty Advisory Group and an annual parliamentary debate on progress on meeting the fuel poverty target.

2015

Labour commit to designating home energy efficiency an infrastructure priority and propose a new consumer levy which replaces ECO and funds a new area based programme with delivery coordinated by local authorities.

2015

NICE publish their long awaited guidance on excess winter deaths, cold related morbidity and the health risks associated with cold homes

2015

The Conservative manifesto states that it will honour fuel poverty commitments and deliver 1m low cost insulation measures by 2020. This represents a considerable reduction on current rates of installation (already a considerable reduction on the 2008 installation rates).

2015

The UK Government announce they will scrap Zero Carbon Homes policy and the Allowable Solutions Fund which would have helped retrofit existing housing

2015

2015 – The Secretary of State announced there will be no further funding to the Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC) or the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF).

2015

DECC state they are reviewing domestic energy efficiency policy with a view to making relevant announcements this autumn
Published on 12-11-2015
Menu Title