Money Wellness
Woman sat under blankets in her home
category iconcost of living
calendar icon13 Mar 2024

Determining the most vulnerable households hit by the energy price crisis

A study recently published  from the University of Sheffield, the UK Energy Research Centre, and Universities of Nottingham, East Anglia and Macedonia in Greece, shows a new way to define and measure which households are most vulnerable to the energy price crisis.

They have called it ‘low energy price resilience’ (LENRES).

Matthew Scott, policy lead for net zero and fuel poverty at Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “This research breaks vital new ground providing a clearer picture of who has been most impacted by soaring energy costs to date, and a way of understanding who is potentially more likely to continue to struggle in the future”.

The study took place with the aim to help policy makers better recognise those who will struggle against the challenges in the UK energy market. It is intended to provide a way for policymakers to look at the channels underpinning LENRES and how it affects health and wellbeing outcomes for both adults and children who are living in cold homes.

From this, it is hoped that the government can use this method to develop more ways to offer direct support for those struggling.

The study found the following factors affect LENRES:

  • employment status
  • housing (e.g, renting)
  • inability to save
  • energy prepayment methods
  • worse health
  • disability
  • wellbeing outcomes for adults

 Recent government figures estimate that 37% of households now spend more than 10% of their residual income on energy, after deducting housing costs, and that an estimated 6.5 million are in fuel poverty.

Matt Copeland, head of policy and public affairs at National Energy Action, commented : “Despite significant government support, this prolonged energy crisis has shattered the finances of millions of people in fuel poverty. Energy bill debt has risen to record levels, meaning our figures show 6 million UK households are struggling to meet their ongoing energy costs while being asked to pay for last winter.

“Identifying those households who no longer have any resilience to price shocks is crucial. As high prices continue and with volatile geopolitics impacting energy prices, targeting support to those who most need it is vital.”

Struggling with energy bills?

If you can’t afford your energy bills, the first thing you need to do is speak to your supplier. Many energy companies will have schemes offering financial support, and you can find yours here.

 If you’re unsure of whether you should switch energy supplier ahead of April’s price cap to find a cheaper deal, here are your options.

Debt help

If you need debt advice, we’re always happy to help. You can access our advice online or over the phone.


Avatar of Lydia Bell-Jones

Lydia Bell-Jones

With a background in banking, Lydia has been writing professionally for over five years. She is passionate about helping people improve their personal finances and has a particular interest in the connection between money and mental health.

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