< Back

Last updated January 2024

Fuel Poverty Statistics Explainer

National Energy Action defines fuel poverty as when a household spends 10% of its income on keeping its home at a satisfactory heating level.

The UK government’s definition for fuel poverty in England uses the Low Income Low Energy Efficiency (LILEE) indicator. Under this indicator, a household is considered to be fuel poor if:

It is living in a property with a fuel poverty energy efficiency rating of band D or below, and when they spend the required amount to heat their home, they are left with a residual income below the official poverty line.

In 2000, UK-wide legislation first defined a person living in fuel poverty as “a member of a household living on a lower income in a home which cannot be kept warm at reasonable cost”. Whilst our understanding of fuel poverty is still broadly consistent across the four nations of the UK, it is now measured in different ways in some UK nations. An inability to heat a home is however still driven by three common factors across the nations: a household’s income, their fuel costs and their energy consumption.

How many fuel poor households are there in the UK?

Due to reductions in household incomes, surging energy prices and relatively modest improvements in energy efficiency levels, National Energy Action estimates that the number of households in fuel poverty across the UK is 6.5 million. NEA bases its projections on the 10% definition of fuel poverty which gives a realistic picture of the scale of fuel poverty in periods of more volatile energy prices.