Defining Fuel Poverty
A fuel poor household is one that cannot afford to keep adequately warm at reasonable cost. The most widely accepted definition of a fuel poor household is one which needs to spend more than 10% of its income on all fuel use to heat its home to an adequate standard of warmth. This is generally defined as 21°C in the living room and 18°C in other occupied rooms - the temperatures recommended by the World Health Organisation. A household that has to spend more than 20% of its income on fuel is regarded as being in severe fuel poverty.
Affordable Warmth - Advice
The solution to fuel poverty is affordable warmth - the ability to achieve a temperature in the home which is adequate for health and comfort, within 10% of household income. Importantly the definition focuses on what people need to spend rather than what they actually spend on heating. This is because fuel poor households have to balance the need for fuel and other essentials, so often cannot afford to heat their homes properly.
For advice on how to manage your bills and reduce the cost of heating your home, visit the Energy Advice Page.
East Lothian Fuel Poverty Strategy
East Lothian's Fuel Poverty Strategy was approved by Cabinet on 9th December 2008. The Strategy adopted the target by the Scottish Parliament's Fuel Poverty Statement published in 2002. This is to eliminate Fuel Poverty as far as is reasonably practicable, by 2016.
Fuel Poverty in East Lothian
The continuous Scottish House Condition Survey provides the best estimate of fuel poverty and using this data as a baseline, estimates from Energy Action Scotland put the figure for the number of Scottish households in fuel poverty in 2009 to around 850,000. Using this statistic, this would mean 13,175 properties in East Lothian are in Fuel Poverty, which is 32% of East Lothian households.