A household is said to be in fuel poverty if their fuel costs are above average, and when having paid for fuel, they are left with an income below the official poverty line.

In the latest figures, released from 2020, Coventry was one of the worst affected authorities in the country, with 20.3% of households in fuel poverty. Some areas of Coventry have fuel poverty rates of over 50%.

The main factors contributing to fuel poverty are:

  • high energy costs
  • poorly insulated and inefficient housing
  • low household income

Fuel poverty is most keenly felt by certain groups of people. The elderly, the very young and those with existing respiratory, heart and mental health conditions are particularly affected as their symptoms are made worse by living in cold homes. These people may also be at home more often and need to heat their homes more to keep warm, increasing their energy bills further.

Those on low incomes will also be more at risk of fuel poverty due to having to spend a greater percentage of their income to heat their homes.