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Fuel Bank Foundation Doubles Financial Support to Keep People Warm This Winter

January 9, 2024

Fuel Bank Foundation Doubles Financial Support to Keep People Warm This Winter Featured Image

Fuel Bank Foundation has increased the amount of financial support it is providing to people this winter, costing it an additional £2.2 million.

The charity, which provides emergency crisis help in the form of fuel vouchers to households with a prepayment gas and/or electricity meter, has almost doubled the value of its vouchers, from £49 to £89.

The increase will keep meters topped up for longer during the winter months, when energy demands are highest. In January, an £89 prepayment meter top up will provide around ten days’ worth of heat, light and power for the average household, compared to just over five days for £49.

Energy prices have remained stubbornly high. The average energy bill is currently around £2,000 a year, with those who prepay having to pay an extra £313 to keep warm over winter, compared to those who pay by direct debit. The cost-of-living crisis is also heaping further financial stress on household budgets.

With the Government failing to provide targeted energy bill support for low income and vulnerable households, Fuel Bank Foundation says it has been forced to take action to keep people safe and warm this winter.

Matthew Cole, head of Fuel Bank Foundation, said:

Millions of households are still struggling with higher fuel and food bills, higher mortgage and rent payments, and paying off previously accrued debts. Without targeted energy bill support from the Government, budgets will be at breaking point. Recognising this, we wanted to do something meaningful to help those who are going to struggle this winter. Increasing the value of our winter fuel vouchers was the obvious choice. Before the energy crisis, a £49 fuel voucher provided around seven days’ worth of credit on a meter, but as fuel costs increased, this reduced to between three and five days, meaning we were providing less support for the same money.
Matthew Cole, Head of Fuel Bank Foundation

Households that have a prepayment gas and/or electricity meter fitted can be referred by Fuel Bank Foundation’s network of partners for an emergency fuel voucher if they have run out or are at risk of running out of credit and cannot afford to top it up.

In 2023, Fuel Bank Foundation saw an 85% increase in demand for financial support, helping nearly 640,000 people across the UK.

From 1st December last year we started to flex the value of vouchers to ensure people were getting at least seven days’ of heat, light and power. However, our ambition has always been to provide clients with ten days of energy, and with the increase to £89 we’re pleased to have achieved our goal. Unfortunately, providing this level of support and the additional money needed to fund it is unsustainable in the long term.
Matthew Cole, Head of Fuel Bank Foundation

As well providing emergency fuel vouchers to help get the lights and heating back on, Fuel Bank Foundation also offers practical support and advice, via its nationwide network of 700 referral partners, on how to reduce energy usage and get back on top of energy bills, as well as providing information about accessing extra financial support they may be entitled to.

Mr Cole said:

Fuel vouchers are a short-term fix, albeit an important one. For people who have no money to top up their meter, the vouchers are a vital lifeline. However, as a charity we’re determined to find a longer-term solution, enabling our clients to help themselves and getting them out of the fuel crisis cycle.
Matthew Cole, Head of Fuel Bank Foundation