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Behind the Definition of Fuel Poverty: Understanding differences between the Fuel Spend of Rural and Urban Homes.


The fuel poor are those households that must spend more than 10% of their income to sustain a reasonable heating regime. The measures for fuel poverty in Scotland depend on a fuel spend for modelled energy use patterns, while England and Wales have adopted a relative measure of population medians. Neither measure describes the actual amount that low income homes spend on heating costs. Understanding the actual fuel use of low income households is important for focusing resources and designing localised energy projects. This paper analyses real domestic fuel use of 447 households spread across rural and urban areas and income deciles in Scotland. The data illustrates a difference in spend between low income rural and urban households. The data used overcomes the difficulties in engaging low income households and experimental bias.