Section 7: Fuel Poverty

Fuel Poverty Low Income Low Energy Efficiency Definition

The ‘Low Income Low Energy Efficiency’ (LILEE) definition of fuel poverty was introduced in 2021, stating that a household is fuel poor if:

• They are living in a property with an energy efficiency rating of band D, E, F or G
• Their disposable income (income after housing costs and energy needs) is below the poverty line.

Fuel poverty is affected by a household’s income, their fuel costs, and their energy consumption which can be affected, in return, by the energy-efficiency of the household’s dwelling.

Poor energy efficiency dwellings will require more fuel for heating purposes, and, as a consequence, more CO2 emissions will be produced. Energy efficiency improvements are key as they reduce energy and fuel consumption and, as a result, fuel poverty.

There is a two year time lag with local Fuel Poverty Data which means for the local authority level estimates for Leeds, data under this new definition is only available from 2021 and starts from 2019.

Fuel Poverty in England

Table 7.1

Fuel Poverty LILEE 2023 2022 2021 2020 Annual Change 2023-2022
England households in fuel poverty (m=million) 3.17m 3.18m 3.16m 3.16m -1,068
England % of households in fuel poverty 13.0% 13.1% 13.1% 13.2% -0.1pp
Source: DESNZ , Fuel poverty national data 2022, April 2024

In 2023, there were an estimated 13% of households (3.17 million) in fuel poverty in England under the Low Income Low Energy Efficiency (LILEE) metric, down from 13.1% in 2022 (3.18 million).

Fuel poverty is impacted by four key factors:

  • Energy Efficiencies
  • Incomes
  • Housing Costs
  • Energy Prices

On these four measures in their latest report, DESNZ summarise that:

• Energy efficiency – More homes moved from poorer energy efficiency ratings into Band C in 2023. The progress with energy efficiency combined with an increase in the number of households receiving Warm Home Discount is estimated to have reduced fuel poverty by around 112,000 households in 2023.

• Incomes – Overall, income changes are estimated to have reduced fuel poverty by around 179,000 households between 2022 and 2023 – over a quarter of this was attributed to the targeted cost of living income payments in 2022/23 and 2023/24. The rest is attributed to above average rise in incomes (in cash terms) offsetting some of the rise in energy costs.

• Housing costs – Some households have seen significant rises in their housing costs which has brought an estimated 51,000 households into fuel poverty.

• Energy prices –the national estimates of fuel poverty Between 2022 and 2023 gas & electricity prices rose by 19 per cent in real terms. The Energy Price Guarantee capped gas & electricity prices for a standard dual fuel consumer to £2,500 between October 2022 and June 2023. While prices fell later in 2023, they remained higher than at the start of 2022. The Energy Bill Support Scheme gave all households a rebate of £400 in winter 2022/23. After considering energy rebates, energy efficiency and household changes the overall required energy costs increased by 27 per cent between 2022 and 2023 in real terms. The change in energy prices after government support is estimated to have increased fuel poverty by around 238,000 households over this period if no other factors had changed.

Fuel Poverty Gap

The LILEE definition also allows analysis of the depth of fuel poverty; known as the fuel poverty gap which is more sensitive to energy price changes. This measures the reduction in fuel costs a households would need to no longer be in fuel poverty under the LILEE definition. In 2023 the mean average fuel poverty gap was £417 per fuel poor household and is projected to decrease to £385 in 2024. 

Fuel Poverty in Leeds

Table 7.2

Fuel Poverty LILEE 2022 2021 2020 Annual Change 2022-2021
Leeds households in fuel poverty 56,181 55,274 60,802 +907
Leeds % of households in fuel poverty 16.0% 15.8% 17.6% 0.2pp
England % of households in fuel poverty 13.1% 13.1% 13.2% 0.0pp
Source: DESNZ , Sub-regional fuel poverty data 2022, April 2024

Please note that the local data has a two-year time lag does not capture the impact of the energy crisis. Latest national data has a one year time lag, please see Table 7.1 for the latest national data.

In 2022, the estimated number of households in fuel poverty in Leeds was 56,181 under the Low Income Low Energy Efficiency (LILEE) metric.  This affects 16% of all Leeds households.  Fuel poverty rose in Leeds by 907 households between 2021 and 2022.  Nationally during this timeframe, the number of households in fuel poverty was estimated at around 3.18 million, representing approximately 13.1% of all English households.

The average fuel poverty gap for England in 2022 (the reduction in fuel costs needed for a household to not be in fuel poverty) was estimated at £338. The recent national data for 2023 is showing this gap increase to £417 and is projected to fall to £385 in 2024.

Further information about Fuel Poverty Data

Fuel Poverty statistics are based on data collected in the English Housing Survey (EHS), which is a continuous national survey commissioned by the Department for Levelling up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC). It collects information about people’s housing circumstances and the condition and energy efficiency of housing in England.

The latest complete combined year dataset for the EHS is for 2022 based on fieldwork carried out between April 2021 and March 20232 (with a mid-point of 1st April 2022). The sample comprised 10,890 occupied dwellings where a physical inspection and a household interview was carried out.

The headline figures for England are projections for 2023. These are designed to represent the period between April 2022 and March 2024 inclusive. This is a one year ahead projection from the final 2022 estimates designed to present a timely estimate of fuel poverty last year. The 2023 projection is less uncertain than the 2024 projection since it is based more on observed changes to energy efficiency installations, income changes and announced energy prices. .