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Study exposes Britain’s fuel poverty and energy security worries

In a recent study conducted by heating specialist Alpha, the pressing concerns of UK homeowners around fuel poverty and energy security have come to the forefront with a staggering 60% of UK billpayers feeling troubled by the looming threat of fuel poverty.

The cost-of-living crisis has cascading effects, with one in four citing stress and anxiety (26%) or having less funds for those all-important leisure activities (27%) as a direct result of rising energy bills. In some cases, homeowners are grappling with an unthinkable decision between keeping their homes warm and putting food on the table. Alarmingly, one in 10 have found themselves in this predicament.

Energy security is another concern which affects the nation’s peace of mind. Almost half (47%) worry about maintaining a reliable energy supply as power cuts and shortages emerge as realistic threats. A significant 24% have experienced power cuts in the last year alone, with 30% of these lasting longer than four hours. This situation emphasises the importance of promoting self-sufficiency in energy provision, a goal shared by many but achieved by only 12% of respondents.

Alpha's research – which surveyed 2,000 household billpayers – underscores the significance of exploring alternative energy solutions, thereby alleviating the financial burdens faced by homeowners. Yet it is clear from the research that an ongoing hesitancy exists amongst homeowners to explore alternative heating and energy sources. A mere 18% have ventured into this realm and only 11% have adopted new energy sources over the past three years.

Delving into the barriers associated with embracing low or zero carbon energy solutions, the results were varied with cost of installation (70%), lack of technological knowledge (37%) and property suitability (36%) being the most significant obstacles.

Andrea Carmeli, managing director for Alpha, commented: “The ongoing pressures on British billpayers is extremely concerning. But in the midst of these struggles, the vital role of installers and heating engineers is more prevalent than ever in supporting Britain on the home energy front. It is here that their expertise becomes invaluable. Our sector has a responsibility to educate, guide and support homeowners in making informed decisions about the best and most reliable solution for their property.”

The study, carried out through OnePoll, also highlights homeowner concerns about the carbon footprint of their properties, indicating a growing desire for environmentally friendly solutions. However, cost considerations continue to dominate the decision-making process. While energy efficiency is a prime factor for 40%, the cost of purchase (60%), installation (56%) and ongoing operation (51%) override any noble desire to invest in green technologies.

Alpha recognises the urgent need for a collective, transitionary shift towards renewables to achieve long-term energy sustainability and has developed a solution specifically to tackle this. The Alpha E-Tec Hybrid Heat Pump offers an ideal bridge between traditional gas boilers and full heat pump systems, yet requires less upfront investment than upgrading to a heating system driven solely by green tech.

Andrea continues: “A helpful outcome would be for everyone to take their first step towards renewables via hybrid. It would be far better for our planet for the masses to go hybrid than for only a very small minority to go 100% renewable. We see installers as being uniquely positioned on the front line via their day-to-day interactions with homeowners to not only help raise awareness of the solutions available, but to ultimately support the UK in transitioning towards a greener, more secure energy future.”

26 October 2023


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