3000 Brits Needlessly Die Every Year Due To Fuel Poverty. Are Americans Next?

We Americans are a fortunate bunch. Our country produces its own energy, such as oil, propane, natural gas, solar, coal and electricity. Our homes and apartments also are built very well when compared to other countries. The United States has in effect, a long-standing, strict building code that makes certain homes are adequately insulated for both heat and air conditioning.

Great Britain, OTOH, isn’t as lucky as we are. Many residents live in homes constructed in the early 1900’s when insulation was unheard of. England also must import their fuel from Russia and we all know how that goes. England is at the mercy of constant rising energy prices with hardly any future solutions in sight. The UK did initiate stricter retro-fitted insulation codes but those won’t be fully installed for another ten years.

This is what socialism brings. Will America be next?

The people most affected by both the rising energy costs and improper housing situations, are, as always, the elderly and the poor. Stagnant wages, fixed incomes and pensions have caused both the elderly and the poor to choose between keeping the house warm or putting food on the table. Most choose food and in the end, die from health problems brought on from living in cold temperatures.


The Brits call this: fuel poverty; but what is fuel poverty? A household is said to be in fuel poverty when its members cannot afford to keep adequately warm at a reasonable cost, given their income. Millions of families in England suffer from fuel poverty, and are slowly dying at such an increasing rate, it has been identified as a ‘National Scandal‘.

A government report said more than two-and-a-half million families were unable to pay the costs associated with heating their homes without falling below the poverty line in 2016 – an increase of 69,000 on the previous year. Single-parent households fared worst, with more than a quarter (26.4 per cent) struggling to afford the bills. This compared with 15 per cent of couples with children, 10 per cent of lone people under 60 and 9 per cent of couples over 60.

Naturally, of course British politicians and citizen action groups yell and scream at each other, pointing fingers at the opposing party thus tossing blame on everyone else’s shoulders but their own. The government implements caps, price-fixing, metered energy monitors and the like, all to no avail. More and more Brits are dying needlessly each and every year due to fuel poverty.

We Americans, however, shouldn’t think we are immune from what is going on in Great Britain. We’ve all faced rising energy costs and have tried alternate methods to heat our homes (pellet stoves, wood burning stoves, solar panels, Geo-thermal to name a few). Right now, in New York City, there are several low-income, government-run buildings that don’t even have a boiler installed to heat hundreds of apartments, thus leaving thousands of people to live without heat! (click here and here for more sample stories) What’s the governments excuse? They simply do not have all the money needed to install the boilers nor do all the required, necessary repairs. Tenants resort to space heaters. Space heaters cause fires. Buildings burn down. People die. More and more people become homeless.



  1. Energy has always been expensive in most of the world. We are spoiled (big time). If costs get to that point of having millions of energy poor, there will be many more people nervous then just little old us! We may look like wimps, but the US doesn’t put up with much in the long run.
    The people in public housing—this is not new. Heat usually starts the first of December and goes off the beginning of April. Those old tenement houses are hard to live in- but they are a place to live. It is so much worse on the street (but come on over the borders poor people…we can mistreat you as well!)


    • Hi Janette. Here in NYC heat must go on October 15. These are newish apartment buildings. Poorly built. They need to be bulldozed and start over. Sad. Pity. Scary.


  2. Thank you for your concern about heating. I read your linked articles about what is happening in Great Britain. We are in a better situation with our energy rich environment here in America. It is too bad though that the current federal administration got rid of heating assistance to poor people. Hopefully the states can pick up the slack. With your reminder about poor people and heat in this season I will try and donate to that cause. I have a niece that always needs help.
    We heat with natural gas. With the drop in gasoline prices maybe your heating oil costs will be less. We moved to a newer house, but we still have cold spots that need to be addressed.


    • Hi Sue. That is very kind of you. We still gave poor people in America that need our help.
      We’re hoping propane goes down. We need to order in January. February the latest.
      Thanks for your comment.


  3. There is heating assistance in our state but also Joe Kennedy foundation provides heating assistance in the Northeast. The qualifying income is different then food stamps and people should check this out. We can give a donation on our utilities bill and it is matched dollar for dollar.
    My Mom always said, don’t borrow some one else’s trouble be concern about problems you have yourself. IMHO if you have to take out more from savings to be comfortable you bite the bullet and do it. You are not in fuel poverty just angry that the money has to go for heating when you have wants you would rather spend it on. If a person is without savings and has to choose between fuel and food that’s a different story. Perhaps your governor Cuomo needs to prioritize the heating problem of NY city owned failing heating systems instead of improving the state parks. Because this situation is life threatening. IMHO Lara


    • Cuomo the governor blames DeBlasio the mayor. DeBlasio blanes Cuomo for the crumbling structures and nothing gets done. Year after year. What a nightmare.
      If I keep filing into savings eventually it’ll be depleted. Not a solution. I think we’re putting in a pellet stove next winter. Better solution. We’re working out the configuration now.
      Is all I can say.


      • So how much does a pellet stove cost and how long will it take to recover the initial cost back. And also the container to hold the pellets that is rodent proof? And who is going to carry the pellet s from the storage location to the stove. And my neighbor needs a ton or more for the heating season and there is a delivery charge too, so he gets it all at once. He has a teenage son that does most of the work, and what he does makes him sore and tired now,I thought the electric fireplace was working well in your livingroom. My one neighbor that is older has stopped using his wood burning stove because of the work and really not saving much from what he pays for natural gas. He calculated the work involved was rewarding him at a wage of $2 an hour! Lara


      • Lara, I have no idea what the pellet stove costs yet. We’re just at the beginning stage. First we have to figure out where it is going. If the living room, how will that heat the bedroom? Do they have to knock through a wall to get the heat in there? if so, not good. I don’t like my house distrupted.
        You bring up some very important points I hadn’t realized. the pellets will be delivered to our basement. Who is going to bring the bags up? Can’t be me. And Nick is limited to how much weight he can carry. I’m worried about the mess. We used to have a wood burning fireplace and the ash mess everyday was so annoying!!!
        The electric fireplace works well, as do the other two BUT, BUT, BUT the bills are coming in now and we’re over the monthly budget. Not a good thing.
        I think our new current system we put in is working much better. We put in a programmable thermostat: 64F while we sleep and 68F during the day when we are awake. It seems to be working out much better. I have to check the usage.
        My two daughters coming over two different weekends and blasting the heat up to 75F wasn’t a good thing! I could have chocked when I felt the heat up in their bedrooms. They’re used to Manhattan steam boilers. Not gonna happen here.
        Oh well.
        I’ll figure it out.
        In the interim, we pay and pay and pay.


  4. I use a dehumidifier on wheels to get the humidity out of the basement and my room air conditioning actually adds humidity in the air.in my bedroom. Amazon has discounted the humidity monitors and I am thinking of getting a dehumidifier for upstairs. Lara


    • We’ve got two dehumidifiers going. One on top floor. Other in basement. Because of my throat and coughing I gave a humidifier in my bedroom. Ugh.
      Always something.


  5. You are lucky you have cheap electricity rates. I have the second highest rates after Hawaii. I hate when politician get into disagreements, that hurt their constituents.
    I look at your circumstances as three years of having to tap maybe five hundred to thousand a year to be warm and comfortable which you could make up by replacing it at $300 a month for ten months from Nick’s Social Security. Lara


    • Lara that’s a great way of looking at it. Thank you for that. It certainly is helping us by keeping the interior temps up. Feels good! Feeling blessed that we can at least do it!
      Thanks for your comment.


  6. I had this saving mode mindset and FEARS of using it up when rates were so low, too and was waiting for my widow pension. Then I said let’s put this in perspective. What if I tapped X amount of dollars now and then treated it like a monthly bill after I received the pension like a delayed zero interest loan? I needed a lot more then you are looking at for heat. And knowing my saver mode and financial personality I knew I would save it back into the account. I think you will too. Lara


    • Lara, I def will. It surely has been making a big difference in living here. Keeping the daily heat set at 68F has been very amenable. Why suffer? That’s ridiculous.
      Thanks for your input.


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