“Harness innovation to tackle fuel poverty challenge”

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As the annual fuel poverty figures are released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Energy Systems Catapult’s Chief Executive, Phil New, says innovation may hold the key to delivering tailored solutions to fuel poor households.

  • The average fuel poverty gap (the additional funds needed by fuel poor households to remove them from fuel poverty) in England decreased by 4.4% last year to an estimated £326, according to new figures released by BEIS.
  • However, the proportion of households in England in fuel poverty is estimated to have increased by 0.1% from 2015, with 11% of households in England recognised as being in fuel poverty.

Phil New, CEO of Energy Systems Catapult, responds:

“Energy Systems Catapult is exploring how the power of innovation might be harnessed to reduce the number of fuel poor households as we move into a decarbonised, decentralised and digitalised energy system.

“Our Fair Futures project, run by fuel poverty expert Dr Rose Chard, is taking practical steps to tackling to problem.

“Together with fuel poverty professionals from universities, charities and businesses, we recently held a two-day workshop in Birmingham, to explore the various ways that digital technology might help identify those vulnerable to fuel poverty and deliver solutions tailored to their specific needs. This culminated in the creation of a first of its kind on-line tool that allows innovators to stress-test ideas and solutions to fuel poverty, and is designed to be the first step towards discovering solutions to tackle the problem more effectively.”

Its available free for organisations to use: https://letsbetafuelpoverty.org/.

Phil continue: “Today, with the support of our colleagues at Bristol Energy, Centre for Sustainable Energy, to name just a few, we have published an open letter inviting the Committee on Fuel Poverty to meet with the Catapult to discuss how the UK can harness innovation to deliver new solutions for households in fuel poverty.

“There is no doubt of the huge potential for innovation and collaboration in improving the lives of those in fuel poverty and we welcome the opportunity to discuss our recommendations in more detail with the Committee.”

About the fuel poverty figures

The Fuel Poverty Report is released annually by the government department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It includes figures including the number of households living in fuel poverty, in England, an analysis of the composition of the fuel poor group, estimates of sub-regional fuel poverty, and projections of the number of households in fuel poverty for the following year.

For more information and to visit the 2017 fuel poverty report please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/annual-fuel-poverty-statistics-report-2017