Shedding light on low income, high energy consumers

Seeking to understand little known sector of households

28 April 2011

“It’s no surprise that poorer households generally use less energy than rich ones,” says Vicki White, one of the authors of a new report from CSE for energy regulator Ofgem.

“But there is, in fact, a small group of low-income households who consume as much energy as some of the richest households in the UK.”

CSE’s report, Understanding ‘High Use Low Income’ Energy Consumers, focusses on this group who apprear to be either single elderly people living alone in large houses (i.e. the family home that is now under-occupied) or poorer families who heat their homes with electricity.

“These households are a key concern because they are so vulnerable to the impacts of fuel price rises, so it’s important we understand more about them,” Vicki added.

Ofgem has commissioned CSE to explore further the demographic characteristics of these households in order to refine its understanding of energy demand patterns across all households. This is important in order to predict the potential distributional issues (i.e. ‘winners and losers’) which follow changes to energy policy and pricing regimes. (See also CSE’s work on Distributional impacts of UK climate change policies.)

You can download a full copy of the report here.

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