Fuel Poverty

Definition

Fuel poverty is defined by the government as a household whose fuel requirements are above the national average, and if they were to try to reach those requirements, their leftover income would sit them below the official poverty line.

Fuel poverty is when a household spends more than 10% of its income on fuel i.e. gas and electric.

Statistics

  • 1

    The annual cost of owning and maintaining a home in Ireland had risen to €16,374.45, an increase of over €350 since 2017

  • 2

    An estimated 400,000 households in Ireland suffer from fuel poverty

  • 3

    Ireland relies on imported fossil fuels to meet over 88 per cent of our energy needs at a cost of €4.6 billion

  • 4

    Cold, damp homes exacerbate health conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease according to Dublin charity Energy Action

  • 5

    Ireland needs to tackle 150,000 properties a year every year for the next 30 years to meet become carbon neutral

Energy Advice

Free electricity, gas and fuel allowances

  • The Department of Social and Family Affairs’ Household Benefits Package contributes about €540 a year towards the electricity, natural gas or bottled gas bills for eligible households.

  • The Electricity Allowance covers your domestic standing charge, 400 units of electricity per bill and VAT on both. If you do not use your full allowance in one billing period, you can carry over up to 1200 units in total to your next bill.

  • The Natural Gas Allowance covers normal standing charges and gas kilowatt hours equal in value to that of the Electricity Allowance.

  • The Bottled Gas Allowance is available if your home is not connected to an electricity or natural gas supply.

  • You may be entitled to a Fuel Allowance if you are receiving a social welfare payment. It is worth €640 a year, paid at €20 a week for 32 weeks from September to April. If you qualify and live in a listed smokeless area, you may receive an additional amount of €3.90 a week.

  • The Household Benefits Package also provides payment towards your telephone bills and covers the cost of your TV Licence.

Warmer Homes Scheme

If you find it hard to afford to keep your home warm and comfortable or to pay the fuel and electricity bills, you could benefit from the help available through the Warmer Homes Scheme. This scheme is delivered mainly through community organisations and is co-ordinated and part-funded by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI).

The Warmer Homes Scheme provides the following services:

  • Draught proofing
  • Attic insulation
  • Lagging jacket
  • Low energy light bulbs
  • Cavity wall insulation, where appropriate and available.

The scheme is for householders who receive Fuel Allowance, Disability Benefit or Invalidity Benefit. Services are provided either free of charge or for a small fee (about €100).