The Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000 placed an obligation on the Secretary of State to make Regulations which will have as their objective the improvement of households in fuel poverty by a target date. In October, Draft Fuel Poverty (England) Regulations 2014 were laid before Parliament.
The draft Regulations introduce a legislative object to ensure that, by the target date of 31 December 2030, households living in fuel poverty must have a minimum EPC of Band C. The minimum EPC rating need only be achieved in as many households "as is reasonably practicable" although the draft regulations provide no guidance on what this means. The draft Regulations also do not provide any system for assessing progress against the objective or the consequences if the objective is not achieved.
Instead of using RdSAP, the Fuel Poverty Energy Efficiency Rating Methodology will be used to determine the EPC ratings of these households. The Methodology takes into account limited affordability criteria which is not part of RdSAP. It is estimated that only around five per cent of households in fuel poverty presently have an EPC rating of B or C applying the Methodology.
A strategy, explaining how the objective will be achieved and perhaps setting out more information on monitoring progress, will be published within six months of the day on which the draft Regulations come into force. This strategy is expected to include requirement to install energy efficiency measures as well as direct financial support for energy bills.