Plumb Center's Tim Pollard has commented on the fuel poverty annual report and statistics for 2011, recently released by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).

The report shows a slight drop in the number of UK households living in fuel poverty, with the figure for 2011 at 4.5m down from 4.75m in 2010.

Mr Pollard, Plumb Center’s head of sustainability, said: “Any fall in the number of people living in fuel poverty is good news, but the fact that 4.5m households are struggling to pay their energy bills is very worrying. With today’s tough economy and fuel prices on the rise, we all have to be doing everything we possibly can to drop this figure substantially.

“We’re just coming out of a very cold winter, and the thought of rationing heating in those freezing conditions and living in a cold home is unacceptable, especially for elderly people and families with young children.

“There are so many simple and inexpensive ways to bring down energy bills, make homes more efficient and fight back against fuel poverty, but these messages aren’t getting across. Heating controls, proper insulation and draught proofing can all save householders a bundle, but not enough homes in the UK have taken these measures.

“At Plumb Center we fully support government initiatives like the Green Deal and the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – due to launch next year – which make energy-efficient home improvements more affordable.”

“We’re also working hard to educate our customers about the best ways to improve heating systems through training, offers and campaigns. Installers are the key because they can advise people on the best ways to improve the efficiency of their homes, whatever their budget.

“Hopefully this time next year we’ll be looking at these figures and applauding the massive drop in the number of people living in fuel poverty – even one is too many.”