In this video, we ask our expert, Alexandra Collin, to define and explain the concept of fuel poverty.
If you're finding it difficult to pay your energy bills, take a look at the other videos in this program, designed to help you make savings at home.
Alexandra Collin is a fuel poverty energy advisor in the energy information space run by Energies Solidaires. In this video, she will explain the concept of fuel poverty so that you can recognise it for yourself, either in your own home or in those close to you, so that you're able to seek the necessary help. The more people who know how to identify fuel poverty, the easier it will be to find solutions, so be sure to share this video to raise awareness!
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Fuel poverty isn't an easy phenomenon to define.
But I think you can define fuel poverty through 4 different elements.
First of all there are the social and economic criteria to take into account.
Generally people facing economic poverty have a low ratio of income to energy consumption.
They are often unemployed or work part-time.
They're also often renting their home.
And lastly, people who might live in seclusion
or are single-parent families, or people living alone.
Another criteria we consider when defining fuel poverty is the energy performance of the building
You'll often find that people who find themselves in fuel poverty live in ageing buildings, mainly built before 1975.
You'll also find often that these people are living in accommodation which has a collective heating system, so they have absolutely no control over the heating; they can't do anything to reduce their consumption and they just have to deal with the energy bills that they're given.
It's really a whole set of factors.
There are lots of different elements which can put you in a situation of fuel poverty.
I don't think that every person living in fuel poverty would necessarily be able to put a name to it.
And it's not always easy to recognise that you're really struggling to warm your home.
I think that these people often, through various means, get used to living in this environment. They make gradual adjustments that mean they can adapt to living that way.
But these people who might then be thrifty with their other expenditures such as their food budget, as they can't afford to pay the bills.
In order to pay their bills, they'll cut back on food.
It's the same where, for example, you may have inherited a large house, but which is totally uninsulated.
You find yourself in this house...
...and there's no insulation to speak of, so you say "ok well I'll just live in this room, and only heat the one room."
So you find yourself in a restricted living environment
in conditions which are far from ideal.
But to be able to concretely define oneself as living in fuel poverty isn't easy.