Community group demands fuel poverty action

More than one in ten Devon households live in fuel poverty, more than the national average, and this figure can only be worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic this winter. That’s according to Exeter Community Energy (ECOE), which works with some of the most vulnerable households. ECOE therefore wants to push for policy change to address cold, damp homes and rising fuel bills. ECOE invites everyone to join it in questioning Ben Bradshaw MP about these issues at its Wise Up About Fuel Poverty Webinar on Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, 27th November, at 2pm. Register now on Zoom at

“Even though we can’t be out in the community at the moment, we’re supporting Fuel Poverty Awareness Day with an online webinar,” explains Tara Bowers, Healthy Homes Project Manager, and ECOE Director. “We hope that local people will join our event to learn more about local problems and what we can all do to help lift homes out of fuel poverty.”

ECOE is among three quarters of frontline organisations that are concerned about the rising levels of fuel debt this winter as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the UK heads into its first winter with COVID-19, the impacts of the concurrent risks of COVID-19, cold weather and fuel poverty are not yet known. However, Public Health England has declared that there is “clear evidence on the links between cold temperatures and respiratory problems”. “Resistance to respiratory infections is lowered by cool temperatures and can increase the risk of respiratory illness”, it adds.

“We need the government to put more support in place to help fuel poor homes,” says Tara. “We invited Ben to our webinar so he could hear first hand from our team of advisors. We’ll be highlighting real examples, issues that we see daily, and we’ll be asking for his support to the fuel poverty policy change debate in parliament.”

Campaigners, including End Fuel Poverty Coalition, are lobbying government to roll-out large-scale energy efficiency programmes which would also deliver a green economic stimulus. They want to see the government deliver the promised extension of Warm Home Discount and improve energy standards in the private rented sector. The government should also provide Fuel Poverty Debt Relief, not deferral, to ensure fewer people will have to choose between heating and eating.

Fuel poverty is caused by low income, high fuel prices, poor energy efficiency, unaffordable housing and poor quality private rental housing.  2.4 million households in the UK are facing fuel poverty this winter. The experience of frontline organisations, like ECOE, demonstrates the increasing need for more support and advice. ECOE’s Healthy Homes for Wellbeing project, launched in 2017 tackles fuel poverty with practical solutions in the local community, and helps around 150 local families every month.

The ECOE’s Wise Up About Fuel Poverty Webinar takes place at 2pm on November 27th. To register for the event see, email or call 0800 772 3617. You can also donate to ECOE’s Winter Warmth campaign at

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