Almost 300,000 face a worrying winter due to fuel poverty
Almost 300,000 homes across Wales are set to face the stark reality of fuel poverty this winter.
As Wales’s national oil distributor, that statistic is extremely concerning, particularly as the temperatures are predicted to plummet significantly over the coming months.
The latest figures from the Welsh Government reveal that 291,000 households are currently living in fuel poverty, with the socially impoverished and vulnerable among those most likely to be adversely affected.
These figures are more worrying still when it is revealed that around 70% of those in receipt of the fuel allowance are dependent on oil as their primary source of heating, while the same percentage in social rented houses are also living in fuel poverty.
Despite a drop of 73,000 homes living in fuel poverty since 2012, it is clear that more must be done to tackle this issue.
The statistics speak for themselves - this issue is widespread and we cannot ignore it.
As a community-focussed business, which serves 63,000 domestic and commercial customers nationwide, we are committed to finding a way forward for those who are struggling to heat their homes due to affordability.
It is imperative that businesses, including ourselves, work alongside local authorities, councils, and residents to find an effective solution to abolishing fuel poverty across Wales.
One solution that we are championing this month is the Kerokeg system.
This offers a pay as you go heating alternative, allowing customers to buy heating oil on a weekly basis in small manageable amounts of 30 or 50 litres, rather than in bulk, which is currently the norm.
Residents can then gauge their exact heating oil usage enabling them to more effectively budget towards their fuel spend.
Despite its evident benefits to vulnerable households, the system is yet to be officially adopted by local authorities and social housing landlords in Wales.
While its introduction would prove to be a departure from the traditional for landlords and councils, it is vital that they accept change in order to make progress, and support the 291,000 homes currently facing a worrying winter.
As such, we are calling on councils to make the vital investment in these systems and roll them out to socially deprived and vulnerable people across Wales.
While the installation cost of almost £1,000 each is understandably costly, the long-term benefits will be immeasurable and could transform lives for hundreds of thousands of people.
We work for the community, and with the community. So, let’s work together to tackle this.