Fuel Poverty: A Smarter Approach

Fuel Poverty: A Smarter Approach

Approximately 13.4% of households in the UK are classified as being ‘fuel poor’.

Keith Bastian, CEO of clean energy supplier Outfox the Market and electric home heating provider Fischer Future Heat explains how homeowners can adopt a smarter approach to avoid fuel poverty this autumn. Before a change in definition in 2013, a household was considered fuel poor if it spent more than 10% of its annual income and energy.

However, fuel poverty is currently measured by two things;

  • Whether a household’s fuel costs are above average.
  • Whether their disposable income is below the poverty line.

Figures from 2018 demonstrate that one in 10 households were classified as fuel poor. Data from 2019 shows that the average fuel gap was an estimated £216, down by four per cent from the previous year. The aggregate gap in England was down 13.2 per cent at £687m.

The average gap is also used to calculate fuel poverty. The average gap is the difference between a household’s average bill and what this bill total should be in order for the household to be no longer considered fuel poor.

The aggregate gap is the combined sum of all fuel poor household’s gaps.

Causes of Fuel Poverty
It is also important for homeowners to remember that the definition of fuel poverty varies considerably depending on location. In 2020, the UK Government revealed that the majority of local authorities in the North West, London and the West Midlands had the highest levels of fuel poverty in the country. Overall, the fuel poverty status of a household is dependent on three factors;

  • Energy efficiency
  • Incomes
  • Energy prices

However, we are going to begin to see even more families and households experiencing fuel poverty, regardless of location. This is due to the industry regulated energy prices being set to rise in October on standard variable tariffs. A 12% increase will take the cap, which applies to 11 million UK households, to £1,277. This the highest level ever.

A Knock-On Effect
Whilst many homeowners argue that fair isn’t always the same as affordable, stakeholders and businesses are doing what we can to ensure that people aren’t being forced to choose between heating and eating. Winter is a tough time for many. A 12% increase of the energy price cap will only add to this.

Of course, it should be noted that many fixed term deals can shield customers from the effects of industry regulated price hikes. Sometimes, locking yourself into a 12-month deal or longer can pay dividends, particularly when you account for the fact that standard variable rates have so far risen twice this year.

Ways to Avoid Fuel Poverty

Young children and the elderly are the most vulnerable when experiencing fuel poverty. However, there are a few things that can be done to help those in need. During the last eighteen months, we have all lived through unprecedented events. It is imperative that people take control of their finances whenever they can.

They can do so by adopting a smarter approach to energy.

Switch: Whoever your current energy provider may be, don’t be afraid to shop around and look elsewhere for a better deal. Always consider price, sustainability and benefits. You’ll soon find a provider that ticks all of your boxes. Switching energy provider is the most effective and impactful way of taking control, but don’t always trust price comparison sites.

Update boiler systems: Don’t use inefficient boiler and water systems. If your boiler or centralised heating system is old, outdated and inefficient, then you could be using more energy than you need. The average life of a boiler is 10 to 15 years, but only when well maintained. Homeowners can either take care of their current boiler, or look at getting it replaced with something renewable and efficient. The UK Government is currently investing massively in renewable forms of energy, with home heating squarely in their agenda. If your boiler is at the end of its shelf life, consider investing smart and looking at something that will future-proof your home.

Heat smart: Be smart about heating your home. Don’t waste heat, and only heat rooms when they are in use. With traditional central heating the entire house is heated, when only one or two rooms may need it. By switching systems or utilising dynamic direct acting storage radiators, homeowners are able to heat up each room individually and maintain comfort with stored heat without any waste or unnecessary costs. This is particularly beneficial for those on a tight budget, or those with large homes with lots of rooms to heat. If we change our user profile and use more heating that allows you to control usage based on the rooms you use, this will deliver warmth in a efficient manner. This is effectively the only true mechanism of control a user has to reduce consumption and bills for a sustainable future.

Electric is not only one of the cleanest forms of energy around, but electric radiators also ensure every kW of energy produced goes into heating a room, maximising efficiency.

There are Government schemes and incentives to be considered for those that are eligible too. Whilst fuel poverty is very much an important current issue, by working together we can do our best to combat it.

This article has been published in the following online publication

Energy Crisis: How to cut YOUR heating costs as fuel poverty threat rises

GAS prices are on the rise, leaving more households across the UK at risk of fuel poverty – but what are the money-saving alternatives to traditional gas heating in your home?

Click here to read the article

How Solar PV Works

How Does Solar PV Work ?

Solar PV – or Solar Photovoltaics – refers to the generation of electricity using energy from the sun. Modern solar panels are able to produce electricity from just daylight, although more electricity is produced during sunnier days.

By installing Solar PV panels, homeowners are able to generate their own electricity. The installation of Solar PV often leads to decreased energy bills due to less reliance on the grid, and also lessens a homeowner’s carbon footprint.

A lot of emphasis is placed on the benefits of Solar PV installation in the home, but how does it really work? Below we will explain the science behind Solar PV, and how these simple devices are set to change how we generate electricity.

 

The History of Solar Power

Solar energy has been used in a multitude of ways since the 7th Century BC. The Ancient Greek and Roman empires have been documented as using the sun’s rays and ‘burning mirrors’ to light ceremonial torches, as well as using reflective devices to set fire to attacking armadas.

As technology advanced, so did invention. In 1767, Swiss scientist Horace-Benedict de Saussure discovered the world’s first solar collector cell. He constructed an insulated box using three layers of glass, and when placed into the sun he found the box generated a heat upwards of 230 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since the dawn of modern technology, harnessing solar power has been an ongoing pursuit. By 1954, the first practical application of the photovoltaic cell was developed and solar power became more commercially available. Solar power is now more popular than it has ever been, and it is common to see houses with Solar PV panels installed.

 

How Does Solar PV Work?

As the panel receives sunlight, a device within the panel called an inverter changes the energy absorbed by the panels into useable electricity. This electricity can then be used to power your home, and any excess power generated can be saved a battery unit for later use or fed back to the National grid.

A typical solar panel consists of a number of photovoltaic cells grouped together, that are then layered on top of one another. The top layer of the panel features cells that are more unstable than the other layers. When an energy source reaches the surface, electrons within this layer are displaced.

These electrons are then pulled downwards towards the other layers of photovoltaic cells. This movement causes a current of energy in the cell, which then travels from the panel into a circuit where electricity is produced. This current in Solar PV panels is referred to as direct current or DC current.

However, the DC electricity produced in solar panels is not suitable to power our homes, and so the electricity produced must be converted. The DC electricity is converted to AC electricity – or alternating current electricity. For this to occur solar panels must be linked to an inverter, whereby the electricity converted becomes suitable to power our homes.

 

Why Choose Solar PV

There are numerable benefits to installing Solar PV in your home. Having Solar PV installed significantly reduces a homeowner’s carbon footprint due to the generation of completely clean energy. As well as this, using solar power in the home leads to a considerable reduction in a homeowner’s energy bills. This is due to the home using less energy from the National grid, and the reduction can be even greater when excess energy is stored in a solar battery unit.

The benefits of installing Solar PV are extensive. By harnessing all of the sunlight on Earth for just one hour, we would be able to use that energy to power the entire world for one whole year. As fossil fuel reserves continue to deplete, harnessing renewable and clean energy has never been more imperative.

Transform your home with Fischer Future Heat

The road to zero carbon has begun and an all-electric future is on the horizon. Here at Fischer, we believe that everyone has a part to play in achieving the UK Government’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

In order to do so, we must eliminate the burning of fossil fuels and switch to more renewable ways of living. By powering an electrical heating system with renewable energy, we can all do exactly that.

The good news? We offer the complete, all-electric home solution.

Our dynamic, electric clay core heaters allow you to be in full control of your comfort with a fully programmable wireless thermostat.

We offer the latest innovations in water heating with our Aquafficient and Aquafficient Eco+, as well as both duo and heating only electric boilers.

We also offer solar PV panels and revolutionary battery storage technology.

Fischer dynamic radiators are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, only 11cm in depth and available in a classic oyster white colour. Manufactured to include a purpose built convection chamber in the back, their sleek, modern design does not impact on their efficiency.

However, Fischer dynamic radiators are not only slimline, they also offer many other benefits.

Along with the fact they are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, they are also designed to be efficient and controllable for complete comfort and peace of mind. They have even had their efficiency tested and verified by EST, BRE and BSRIA.

Our dynamic radiators also contain a purpose built convection chamber and patented 40mm chamotte clay core. Our 40mm clay core is DOUBLE THE DEPTH of the core found within many of our competitors’ heaters, which is usually 20mm. More storage resulting in more heat and more comfort.

Wi-Fi control options are available, allowing you to control your heating from anywhere in the world, all with the push of a button.

Aquafficient is a modern, efficient and reliable way to heat your water. Using a single 3kW heating element and patented thermal storage technology, the Aquafficient provides instant hot water, as and when you need it, without the need for huge amounts of water storage. No yearly maintenance is required, taking away the stress of finding a plumber to check over your system and also eliminating the cost of doing so.

There is also no requirement for any extra valves or fixings, or even a water discharge pipe, meaning the installation of the Aquafficient is stress free and mess free, even in smaller or more difficult to access areas of your home.

Manufactured specially for Fischer Future Heat, the Aquafficient uses a natural salt-based thermal storage material to store its heat. Working in a similar way to a combi boiler, minus the expensive maintenance and running costs, there is absolutely ZERO water storage within the unit itself. The chance of a leak is almost non-existent.

You simply heat the battery once to get started and hot water is available in less than an hour. The thermal storage material stores heat, not energy, and as cold water runs through the highly efficient and robust heat exchanger, it becomes hot within seconds and subsequent warm water is fed to your appliances in less than a minute.

Our Aquafficient can store four times more energy than a domestic water cylinder in a unit half the physical size.

Not only does the Aquafficient give you a much more efficient solution when it comes to heating the water, it also saves huge amounts of physical space.

An Aquafficient unit, which provides 150L of hot water, is only HALF the height of an average 150L cylinder. If you have ever wanted to utilise that wasted space in your airing cupboard, now is your opportunity with this ideal replacement for other hot water systems.

Compatible with Economy 7, Solar PV and other types of renewable electricity sources, the Aquafficient is the way forward when it comes to saving the environment and improving your carbon footprint.

Based on recent testing, the thermal storage material within the Aquafficient has a life span of over 40,000 cycles before you start to notice any drop in efficiency. In layman’s terms, it can last for over 50 years without you EVER having to service, maintain or replace the thermal store or its contents. Even after the 50 years are up, all it takes is a glass of water to be added to the storage material to recharge it back to full health.

Aquafficient Eco+

We are now pleased to introduce a new addition to the ever-growing range – Aquafficient Eco+, our brand new air source water.

Air source water heaters can be two to three times more energy efficient than a conventional water cylinder.*

Thanks to the special design of the compressor, hot water is available at 60 degrees centigrade and with a power requirement of less than 10amps, Aquafficient Eco+ requires only a standard 13amp socket to install.

Aquafficient Eco+ also contains an automatic anti-legionella disinfection system to remove the risk of legionella bacteria.

Much like the Aquafficient, it can be installed alongside a heating only boiler, allowing you to both heat your home and water efficiently.

You can also use Aquafficient Eco+ as a stand-alone hot water system, or even combine it with Fischer dynamic clay core radiators. The opportunities are endless.

Built with a stainless steel casing, 80mm of highly efficient insulation and finished in white, Aquafficient Eco+ has a sleek, modern design perfect for any home.

Wall mounted and floor-standing options are available, and the unit can be installed in a loft where possible, ensuring you save valuable space within your home.

Fischer Solar & Battery Storage consists of a highly efficient solar PV system, running in conjunction with revolutionary battery storage technology.

With a standard solar PV system, any energy you generate which is surplus to requirements is sent back to the grid and lost forever. You then have to buy it back when you need it.

With the feed-in tariff being scrapped to new applicants in April 2019, and its replacement (Smart Export Guarantee) being rather lack-lustre for consumers, there is no sense in sending any energy back to the grid.

Instead, with Fischer Solar & Battery Storage, you have the option to hold on to your excess energy in a battery and use it later. By doing so, you can utilise as much as 80% of the generated energy, as energy is only sent back to the grid once the battery is full.

There are many advantages to installing Fischer Solar & Battery Storage, including our 25-year linear power warranty. In simple terms, we guarantee that after 25 years, our solar panels will still be at least 83% efficient. Many competitor’s offer a similar guarantee, either with a lower efficiency percentage or at a higher initial outlay for the panels if the efficiency percentage is higher.

We also offer a 12-year warranty on the panels themselves, along with 10 years on the battery and inverter.

Our solar panels even boast improved shading resistance, anti-reflective glass technology and advanced busbar design to reduce losses.

Our boilers have serviced the heavy demand commercial sector for over 50 years. Now adapted for your home, Fischer EB has been designed to ensure durability and efficiency. No servicing or maintenance is required.

By using a nickel-iron-chromium alloy, with the addition of molybdenum, copper and titanium – Fischer electric boilers provide high levels of resistance to a large number of corrosive environments.

Due to its low emissions, Fischer EB does not need a combustion tank or chimney.

The boiler is equipped with two independent tanks, insulated with 10mm of icolem. One tank is for hot water, with a capacity of 100L, manufactured in AISI316L stainless steel, designed to work up to 70c. There is also an in-built expansion vessel.

Due to the volume of water contained in the tank, you can remove your existing system boiler and hot water cylinder, and simply replace them with one single Fischer EB.

The second tank is carbon steel and is part of a closed circuit for heating, designed to work up to 90c, also with its own expansion vessel.

Our boilers are also available as heat only, allowing you to install either an Aquafficient or Aquafficient Eco+ for your hot water supply.

Much like our duo boilers, our heating only boiler requires zero servicing or maintenance, and both options come with a 10-year warranty for complete peace of mind.

Manufactured as standard with a wireless thermostat, you can be in full control of your heating from anywhere within your home.

By keeping your existing radiators, we can quickly and efficiently replace your existing boiler, allowing a seamless, mess-free change over from an existing boiler.

Time to invest in solar panels and battery storage

Fischer Solar Storage

Winter is over, Autumn is far in the past and the clocks have changed to give us the longer days we’ve all been patiently waiting for. The sun is finally making a comeback and now is the perfect time to invest in solar panels and battery storage. But why?

As solar panels rely solely on PV, or photovaltic, which is energy which comes directly from the sun. Now we’re in to the warmer, sunnier months, you have the opportunity to harvest some of that sunlight we all crave and convert it in to energy to power your home.

Solar panels mounted to a roof

Back in February, we launched our own line of solar panels and battery storage, offering the complete package for any homeowner looking to invest in renewables and power the future with clean energy. It’s like we’re always telling you – the future is electric, even more so following the most recent budget from the government, during which the Chancellor announced the gas levy will rise.

The Future is Electric

Before we know it, we will all be reliant on just electricity to heat and power our homes, and by installing solar panels and battery storage now, you can be ahead of the curve. In fact, the government have already banned the installation of gas in new build properties from 2025 and all types of loose house coal from 2021.

Fischer Solar & Battery Storage consists of a highly efficient solar PV system, running in conjunction with revolutionary battery storage technology.

The key part to our system is the battery. With a standard solar PV system, any energy you generate which is surplus to requirements is sent back to the grid and lost forever. You then have to buy it back when you need it at your unit rate, provided by your energy supplier.

No more Feed-in-Tariff

With the feed-in tariff being scrapped to new applicants in April 2019, and its replacement (Smart Export Guarantee) being rather lack-lustre for consumers, there is no sense in sending any energy back to the grid.

Instead, with Fischer Solar & Battery Storage, you have the option to hold on to your excess energy in a battery and use it at a later time. By doing so, you can utilise as much as 80% of the generated energy, as energy is only sent back to the grid once the battery is full.

Now is the time to invest

With those warm and sunny months approaching, installing your system now means you can make the most of this summer and generate as much energy as possible before that cloud coverage returns.

But never fear, as the panels rely on PV and not heat to generate the energy, they will still generate electricity during the colder months, even with some cloud coverage.

Our team of trained surveyors will carry out a free, no obligation survey to ensure you receive only the best in solar and battery technology and make the most of your roof space. We even carry out a virtual survey prior to the on site visit to calculate exactly how many solar panels you can install on to your roof.

Switch to a renewable energy supplier

Renewable energy is the future, which is why we have partnered with energy supplier Outfox the Market to offer an exclusive tariff to all of our customers, powered by 100% renewable electricity. – They are also offering the cheapest fixed price tariff in the UK.

So why is now the perfect time to install a solar system? Mainly, because those longer days of rich sunlight are upon us and of course, because – The Future is Electric

 

Request your free brochure today to find out more about how we can help you work towards a cleaner future.