The Energy Poverty Committee condemned the government’s “unacceptable” failure to achieve its goal of making sure all fuel-poor households have an energy efficiency rating of E or higher by last year.
In a scathing report published on Wednesday, a panel of experts said the government had “failed to meet the plans and adequate funding.”
The committee, which was created to advise ministers on tackling energy poverty, failed to help poor Britons make their homes more powerful.
The report found that just 15 percent of the funding to improve energy efficiency and help with fuel bills actually went to families in fuel poverty – with more help going to “higher incomes.”
The report said: “The government has failed to apply its own fuel poverty guideline to target those in deep energy poverty who are available to help improve the energy efficiency of their homes and pay their fuel bills.”
It added: “Instead, aid has been (and continues to be) targeted primarily at high-income households.”
Only 55 percent of the 293,000 fuel-poor households with a G or F rating in 2015 were upgraded to E or higher by 2020, the report said.
Warning of a “winter of discontent” has been warned as fuel bills continue to rise due to wholesale gas prices.
Regulator Ofjem increased its energy price by 12 percent this month, and analysts fear the cap may rise again by about 30 percent next April. This means the bills will go up by £ 400 – raising fears that more people will be driven into fuel poverty.
It follows allegations that the government has worsened the heating crisis by ending a successful home insulation program.
Green Homes offered Grant Home vouchers to cover the cost of insulation – but it was canceled in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s last budget and replaced with a new plan to fund councils to distribute cash.
Many of the issues highlighted in Wednesday’s panel on the Energy Poverty Report were originally mentioned in the first annual report of the consulting firm in 2016.
A previous report found that only 10 percent of the money for fuel poverty projects actually went to families in fuel poverty, but the government does not know the address of 3.2 million fuel poor families.
The 2021 report found the government did not yet have this information: “While the number of fuel poor families can be estimated … the addresses of these homes are unknown and therefore it is difficult for them to target assistance.”
The committee highlighted concerns that moving to net-zero could increase fuel bills in the short term, which means more support is needed, but objected to turning money into decarbonization projects for energy efficiency.
A spokesman for the Department of Trade, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the government welcomes the fuel poverty report.
“The fuel price limit is protecting millions of consumers from global gas prices, and we have launched a m 500m home support fund for those who need it, along with other projects for the most vulnerable.”
“But we want to go much faster, making sure no one gets cold in their own home. That’s why we’re investing £ 1.3bn to increase the energy efficiency of homes that help lift low-income families out of fuel poverty.