People who visit the Devon government’s site has some bad news, as a recent report made by the local government reveals that around 40,000 homes in the county are living in fuel poverty, unable to afford proper housing and stay warm during the cold UK winter months.
The study, which details the heating crisis that’s currently plaguing the county, says that 36,970 homes in Devon are unable to afford proper heating for their home based on their income. The latest data in the report shows that 11% in Devon are classified as ‘fuel poor’, meaning that should they spend money to acquire adequate heating for their home, the remaining income would leave them below the poverty line. This number marks an increase on the national figure, to over 2.55 million homes in fuel poverty.
The study noted that homes in the rural parts of the county are disproportionately affected, with higher fuel poverty compared to the more urban areas in Devon, and that the gap between the cost of heating bills and what the people can afford to pay has gone up, past £600, doubled for urban areas. This is notable due to the fact that oil heating, one of the most commonly used fuels used by rural homes, are cheaper than other forms of heating for homes that aren’t connected to mains gas.
According to the study, the higher costs of heating isn’t due to the heat source, but because rural homes tend to be older, poorly insulated and energy inefficient, which means that they’re far more costly to keep warm.
In response to the issue, the OFTEC, representing the oil heating industry, has appealed to local MPs, saying that rural households need additional support, especially following the particularly chilly winds that visit the country back in 2017.
A spokesperson from the OFTEC says that rural households have lower energy efficiency ratings compared to urban homes, so that, like the report notes, it’s important to find more cost effective heating solutions like better insulation, among others.
Said spokesperson, however, took note that, even with government support, getting better heating is still too expensive for many homes, and implored homeowners to find ways to cut down on heating costs like bleeding radiators and making sure that their heating systems are regularly inspected and serviced by a qualified professional.