Much more needs to be done to ensure disabled people and other groups suffering from fuel poverty can benefit from energy efficiency schemes.
That’s the verdict from a new report published by the UK Energy Research Centre, the University of York and ACE Research, which suggests disabled people often have higher energy demands, because of factors such as health-related needs to keep warm and the electricity needed to use equipment such as stair lifts and electric wheelchairs.
The organisations warn current government policies are too target-oriented and focused on improving efficiency only at the lowest possible cost – they say because disabled people often live in the poorest quality homes and need extra support through the installation process, they are often overlooked by providers.
Dr Joanne Wade, CEO of ACE, said: “In short, the needs of older people, important though they undoubtedly are, have been prioritised above those of people with disabilities and long-term health conditions and those of families with young children.
“We have to stop ignoring people who don’t always have the loudest voices – we have to stop avoiding people who are harder to engage or more expensive and more difficult to help than others.”