16% of households in Powys are thought to be in fuel poverty (decc, 2013)
The price of energy, the level of household income, the physical quality, and energy efficiency characteristics of a dwelling are the main drivers of fuel poverty in Powys. Fuel poverty has been exacerbated by rising domestic energy prices. Domestic electricity prices have increased by 80% and gas prices doubled between 2004 and 2016.
The impact of fuel poverty is so acute, that premature mortality related to cold homes is a bigger killer than smoking, lack of exercise, and alcohol abuse (Association for the Conservation of Energy, 2015). It is the most vulnerable in society who are at risk at damage from fuel poverty, it has a direct link to poor health and mortality, particularly in the elderly and frail. Children living in damp, and mouldy homes are particularly at risk, and are almost three times as likely to suffer from coughing, wheezing and respiratory illness (Marmot Review Team, 2011). Evidence also exists suggesting that infants living in cold conditions have a 30% greater risk of admission to hospital or primary care facilities (Child Health Impact Working Group, 2006). This in turn impacts upon educational attainment, either through increased absence through illness, or through children being unable to find a quiet warm place to study in the home
Approximately 53% (31,000) properties in Powys are not connected to the mains gas network. This is the second highest of all Welsh counties (behind Ceredigion). These non-gas households rely on more expensive fuels, such as electricity and oil to heat their homes, and often live in harder-to-treat, energy inefficient properties, with no central heating and solid walls.