Fuel & Energy Poverty Resources

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The Fuel Poverty Research Network (FPRN) has put together a short compilation of fuel/energy poverty resources. It is intended to suggest some key documents and websites, rather than provide a comprehensive selection. We have tried to include materials from across the globe. However, we recognise that the resources are ‘UK-centric’. 

We have used the same headings as the Fuel Poverty Research Library. This resource, with which FPRN was involved, provides an extensive resource of detailed research reports and related resources on fuel & energy poverty funded by Eaga Charitable Trust before the Trust closed in 2019. 

The selection below includes many official reports and resources. We aim to gradually extend the compilation by including more resources from independent sources, both academic and non-academic. We welcome suggestions for inclusion.


The terms ‘fuel poverty’ and ‘energy poverty’ are generally used interchangeably. The former term is used in, for example, the UK, Ireland and New Zealand. The latter is used in, for example, mainland European countries, Australia, United States and many others. 

Three key factors are considered to drive fuel/energy poverty: household income, the cost of energy and the energy efficiency of a home and its appliances. The Scottish government identifies a fourth factor: ‘the use of energy in the home’. In developing countries many people do not have access to grid energy at all.

The following documents give a useful introduction to fuel/energy poverty:


Living in cold/damp homes or homes subject to excess heat has direct and indirect effects on inhabitants’ physical and mental health. It  also leaves its mark on other aspects of people’s health and wellbeing such as social life, child development and educational attainment. The financial stress of managing energy budgets takes its own toll and can force households to compromise on other expenditure and/or contribute to wider indebtedness. Commentators often highlight the ‘heat or eat’ dilemma, although many low income households cut back on both fuel and food simultaneously.

The global imperative to decarbonise our economies has highlighted the importance of ensuring a fair transition, both within individual economies and between developed and developing countries.

The following gives an overview of key impacts:



Fuel/energy poverty and deprivation (see also section on ‘people’)

  • Bradshaw J. Keung A. & Snell C., 2022, Cost of living crisis: fuel poverty. Assesses the impact of current high energy costs on fuel poverty in UK households and evaluates the effectiveness of some of the UK Government’s mitigations. Assesses the value of social tariffs.
  • Middlemiss, L., 2022, Who is vulnerable to energy poverty in the Global North, and what is their experience. WIRES Energy and Environment. Summarises empirical literature on the experience of energy poverty in the Global North, who is most vulnerable and highlights people’s life experiences of the issue, e.g. coping practices and impact on health, social life and home finances. Shows how energy poverty links to poverty, and how people from disadvantaged social categories (disabled people, lone parents and people from ethnic minorities) are more likely to experience energy poverty.
  • Eurofund, 2022, The cost-of-living crisis and energy poverty in the EU: Social impact and policy responses – Background paper. Highlights the impact of the recent rapid growth in energy prices in Europe, in part due to the Ukraine war, and its contribution to the wider cost of living crisis. Found that women and countries in South East Europe are hit particularly hard.


Policies, programmes and projects for tackling fuel/energy poverty at a household, area, country and international level. Policies have generally focussed on support for energy efficiency and renewables alongside complementary measures, such as price support for energy bills, social tariffs and energy-specific income measures.


The following documents outline the current UK government and devolved nation strategies for tackling fuel poverty in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland:



From the emergence of the concept of fuel/energy poverty in the early 1990s, research has sought to address two fundamental questions: how to define fuel/energy poverty in itself and in relation to other forms of poverty; and how to identify households in fuel/energy poverty and measure its prevalence.


The following websites provide official government statistics on fuel poverty in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (including definitions used, methodology for calculating prevalence and who/where is most affected):


  • Energy Poverty Advisory Hub, 2022, National Indicators. Interactive dashboard/database that enables users to navigate through the different energy poverty indicators available for EU countries; users can compare data by years and by countries, or obtain all the data available for a single country.
  • European Parliament, 2022, Energy poverty in the EU. Briefing paper on energy poverty in Europe: definitions, indicators, policies and key EU institutions.
  • Thomson, H et al, 2017, Rethinking the measurement of energy poverty in Europe: A critical analysis of indicators and data. Critically assesses the available statistical options for monitoring energy poverty in Europe, while also presenting options for improving existing data. This is examined through the lens of vulnerability thinking, by considering the ways in which policies and institutions, the built fabric and everyday practices shape energy use, alongside the manner in which energy poor households experience and address the issue on a day-to-day basis.



The type and condition of buildings, heating/cooling systems and appliances affect a household’s exposure to the impact of cold, over-heating, damp and financial stress. Whether the home is owned by the householder, provided by a social landlord or rented through the private sector has a bearing on what control the occupant has over their living space and what support may be available to them. Similarly, those in multi-family properties often face difficulties accessing support. The location of the home is also important: those in remote, off-grid or difficult to access locations will face particular challenges.

Energy efficiency (all tenures)


Many independent organisations have produced detailed research and evidence to underpin their advocacy of policies and programmes to improve home energy standards and eliminate fuel poverty. A recent example is: 

  • Brown, D. & Bailey, T., 2022, Cheaper bills, warmer homes. This aims to present a transformative 10 year plan to make UK homes ‘fit for the future’, address the cost-of-living crisis, improve health, deliver long term economic prosperity and mitigate the impact of climate change.

Social housing 



Private rented housing


  • BEIS, 2020, Improving the energy performance of privately rented homes. Sets out the UK government’s proposals for upgrading private rented sector homes in England & Wales to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C by 2030 through raising the minimum energy efficiency standards private landlords are required to meet in properties they let.
  • Association for the Conservation of Energy & CAG Consultants, 2018, The warm arm of the law: tackling fuel poverty in the private rented sector. Presents the findings from research into how minimum standards can improve energy efficiency in the private rented sector (PRS) through the effective and proactive enforcement of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations in the PRS.


  • The enpor website has lots of useful resources on tackling energy poverty in the private rented sector in Europe. See, for example: 
  • Bouzarovski, S et al, 2021, Report on Energy Poverty in the PRS – Overview & Framework.  Overview of current literature and suggested framework of measures to tackle energy poverty in the private rented sector (PRS). Carried out for the ENPOR (Actions to Mitigate Energy Poverty in the Private Rented Sector) project, in order to establish the state-of-the-art in knowledge of PRS specific energy poverty challenges. 

Multi-family homes

The ComAct website includes useful information on tackling energy poverty in multi-family homes. ComAct (Community tailored actions for energy poverty mitigation) provides energy efficient improvements in multi-family apartment buildings in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region and in the former Soviet Union republics (CIS region). It aims to provide Improvements that are affordable and manageable for energy-poor communities as well as create the necessary assistance conditions for lifting them out of energy poverty.


Defra, 2022, Fuel poverty in rural areas. Statistics on fuel poverty in rural areas in England, using the UK Government’s definition of fuel poverty (LILEE and LIHC).

The FREE (Future of rural energy in Europe) website has useful information on energy, including energy poverty, in rural areas in Europe.

Simcock, N. et al, 2021, Identifying double energy vulnerability: A systematic and narrative review of groups at-risk of energy and transport poverty in the global north Energy Research & Social Science, 82, December 2021. Review of academic literature that aims to identify the overlapping socio-demographic and spatial factors that can increase vulnerability to both energy and transport poverty and thereby identify those most at-risk of experiencing double energy vulnerability.


Although fuel/energy poverty is experienced across the population, it is not experienced uniformly. Certain characteristics, conditions and situations shape the ways in which people experience cold, over-heating, damp and financial stress. Some groups are not only more likely to experience fuel/energy poverty but also more adversely affected by it. Fuel/energy poverty is intrinsically related to other forms of deprivation, whether stemming from age, ethnicity, disability, health status or financial means.


Older people

  • Age UK, 2021, The cost of cold. Age UK briefing on evidence from older people on the impact of rising energy costs on their living standards. Includes recommendations for improvements to policy.

Families, children and young people

  • González-Pijuan, I., 2022, Overcoming energy poverty in childhood from a policy perspective. . Examines the extent to which energy policies target children in energy poverty and acknowledge their differential needs and impacts. Based on a study of EU-SILC data and the analysis of policy documents across the European Union member states.

People from ethnic minorities