Fuel poverty 'will rise slightly'

The Department for Energy and Climate Change has projected that the number of families in fuel poverty will "increase marginally" over the course of this year.

Government projects slight rise in fuel poverty in 2013

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has projected that the number of families in fuel poverty will "increase marginally" over the course of this year.

Figures for previous years have been recalculated using the government's new definition of fuel poverty.

Graph showing the rate of fuel poverty since 1996, with the projected figures for 2012 and 2013 in red
Graph showing the rate of fuel poverty since 1996, with the projected figures for 2012 and 2013 in red Credit: DECC

DECC notes that the figures could differ from the above projection, which assumes that the average price for gas an electricity will rise by seven percent in the Autumn.

How does the government define 'fuel poverty'?

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How does the government define 'fuel poverty'?

The government changed the way it defines fuel poverty in July 2013 following a consultation that found that many rich households are technically fuel poor.

  • Until July 2013, any household that spends more than 10 percent of income on gas and electricity was defined as being fuel poor.
  • The new definition includes only households where total income is "below the poverty line" and where "energy costs are higher than typical".

Energy Secretary Ed Davey has said that the old definition meant that even the Queen could be considered to be fuel poor because of the high cost of heating her estates.

But energy campaigners have accused the government of trying to mask the problem of rising fuel poverty.

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Government to reveal number of fuel poor families

A change in the definition of fuel poverty is expected to lead to a drop in the number of fuel poor families
A change in the definition of fuel poverty is expected to lead to a drop in the number of fuel poor families Credit: Berliner Verlag/Archiv/DPA/Press Association Images

The Department for Energy and Climate Change will today release the latest figures for the number of families in fuel poverty.

But the figures are expected to show a drop in fuel poverty due to a change in definition by the department last month.

The new data will include the confirmed figures for 2011 and projections up to 2013.

How does the government define 'fuel poverty'?