The Energy Penalty: disabled people and fuel poverty
It is critical for government and regulatory policies and suppliers’ practices to be underpinned by a good understanding of the range of circumstances and needs of disabled people in relation to energy. There is substantial evidence which demonstrates the strong relationship between disability and poverty/low incomes, and the additional costs faced by many disabled people, including those related to people’s energy needs. The range and nature of these additional energy needs form the prime focus of this report. The study also challenges how disability benefits are currently treated in the measurement of fuel poverty and in other official income statistics. In addition, it highlights concerns about a number of changes taking place in the benefits system which are likely to have adverse effects for many disabled people, including the ability to afford essential energy use. The aim is to help achieve a better understanding of the energy needs of disabled people to help break the link between disability and fuel poverty.