Fuel poverty

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • Very high rates of fuel poverty are experienced by both households with low income and single pensioners.
  • In 2006, a third of all households in Northern Ireland, equivalent to some 230,000 households, were in fuel poverty.  This is higher than in either of 2001 and 2004 (the dates of the two previous surveys), in both of which around a quarter of households were in fuel poverty

Definitions and data sources

The graph shows how the estimated proportion of households in Northern Ireland who are in fuel poverty varies by household income, tenure and family type.

Households are considered to be in ‘fuel poverty’ if they have to spend more than 10% of their household income on fuel to keep their home in a ‘satisfactory’ condition, where, for example, a ‘satisfactory’ heating regime is considered to be one where the main living area is at 21 degrees centigrade with 18 degrees centigrade in the other occupied rooms.  It is thus a measure which compares income with what the fuel costs should be rather than what they actually are.  The fuel costs included comprise that used for space heating, water heating, lighting, cooking and household appliances.

The data source is the report of the 2006 House Condition Survey from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.