30 years of campaigning for warm homes
NEA’s work to tackle fuel debt was stepped up as increasing energy prices and the economic downturn exacerbated the problem. With funding from DECC and British Gas, NEA continued to support training and support for front-line debt advisers.
The Government appeared to have heeded NEA’s suggestion that energy consumers should not be constantly subject to regressive levies in pursuit of environmental policy objectives. The Renewable Heat Incentive is to be funded through the more equitable mechanism of general taxation; however it remains unclear how low-income households will be able to benefit from the Incentive.
As we mark NEA’s 30th anniversary in 2011, two key factors will potentially shape the future for fuel poverty policy:
- The Energy Bill passing through Parliament. It is imperative that NEA and other agencies working within the fuel poverty arena ensure that the Bill enacts a framework that is fit to deliver on the Government’s targets to eradicate fuel poverty through the new Energy Company Obligation.
- Professor John Hills is leading a Review of Fuel Poverty on behalf of the Government which will consider fuel poverty from first principles. The review seeks to determine the nature of the issues at the heart of fuel poverty, including the extent to which fuel poverty is distinct from poverty, the detriment resulting from fuel poverty and issues around fuel poverty targets and definitions.
NEA sees the review as an opportunity to restructure the UK Fuel Poverty Strategy as a coherent and structured programme to deliver the eradication of fuel poverty. Warm Zones Community Interest Company, NEA’s subsidiary, has installed £110m worth of energy efficiency improvements and will be celebrating 10 years of its achievements this year.