NEA’s key campaign messages
NEA’s campaign strategy aims to address the three main elements of fuel poverty – poor household energy efficiency, low incomes and high energy prices.
- Greater investment in domestic energy efficiency. NEA has campaigned for the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) to be adequately resourced to fund a comprehensive energy efficiency programme for low income households and communities. The ECO remains insufficient to tackle fuel poverty, especially for households in hard to treat properties. NEA is therefore supporting the objectives of the Energy Bill Revolution campaign to recycle revenues from environmental taxes back into energy efficiency programmes that can help beat fuel poverty.
- Tackling the impact of high energy prices. Levies on energy bills impact negatively on the poorest households. NEA is therefore campaigning for the Government to fully appreciate the scale of these impacts and urge policy makers to pursue these policies in a progressive manner and introduce suitably ambitious mitigating policies.
- Extending income maximisation. Income maximisation measures (such as benefit entitlement checks) play a key role in addressing (and preventing) fuel poverty. NEA is campaigning to ensure that instruments such as the Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payment are retained, and if reformed, the quantum of resources ‘saved’ should be preserved to increase support for all groups at risk of fuel poverty. NEA is also supporting attempts to extend data sharing for the delivery of fuel poverty schemes.
- A New Fuel Poverty Strategy in England. Following the Independent Review of Fuel Poverty in England, the Energy Act 2013 requires the Government to publish a new fuel poverty strategy in 2014. NEA is campaigning to ensure the Government introduce new minimum energy efficiency for all homes occupied by low income households. NEA’s engagement is also intended to extend coverage of fuel poverty as a cross departmental priority and flag the overreliance on supplier led delivery. NEA also believes an essential first step down this path is to enhance current capacity and willingness amongst Local Authorities to tackle (and fulfil) their current duties in relation to housing standards.
- Tackling public health through preventative action. The public health function has now moved into local authorities in England as part of the Public Health Outcomes Framework. NEA is working to ensure Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs) and Public Health England (PHE) recognises fuel poverty reduction and the health impacts of cold homes as a priority issue. NEA is seeking the creation of a joint fund to offer funding for public health initiatives that exploit the synergy between health outcomes and tackling fuel poverty.
- Smarter homes and informed consumers The smart meter roll out is currently estimated to cost in the region of £10.9 billion over a period of 20 years.NEA is primarily concerned with the protection of low income and vulnerable households during the smart meter roll out. This requires enabling these groups to realise some of the benefits from what will otherwise be an expensive scheme – the cost of which will have a disproportionately adverse impact on them.