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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute


DEI are bringing DEI seminars to your home with our new online seminar series. Seminars will be held weekly and registration links are in the event links below.

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DEI Online Seminar Series: Winter is coming: Fuel poverty in a Covid world

30th September 2020, 13:00 to 14:00, Online over Zoom, Helen Stockton, NEA

This webinar is free and open to all. Please register via EventBrite

Today across the UK around 3.3 million households live in fuel poverty. In England, 10.3% (2.4m) households live in fuel poverty, while in Wales the figure is 12%, in Northern Ireland it is 18% and in Scotland it is 25%. Fuel poverty is typically understood as arising from a combination of poor energy efficiency, low household income and high energy costs, but there are several secondary factors that can act to moderate fuel poverty, its lived experience and energy demand; such as health needs, access to the energy market and to vital support.

For families, fuel poverty often means living in cold, damp and expensive to heat and power homes, poor physical and mental health outcomes, financial instability and debt, energy rationing and harmful coping practices, making difficult budgetary decisions and poor educational outcomes.

In this seminar, we will explore the impact of Covid19 on those living in fuel poverty and the impact of the pandemic on the risk and depth of fuel poverty and additional vulnerabilities, including increased energy demand, reduced incomes and access to services and support. We will also reflect on the impact of the outbreak on critical organisations that support fuel-poor households, and what the policy and practice responses have been at a time when services have had to constrain their services when they were most needed, or work tirelessly to meet the additional demand. Learning these lessons as move into winter and a possible second wave will be vital to ensuring we can be as prepared as we can be to respond and support some of the most vulnerable in our society.

Helen is a social researcher with over 15 years of applied research experience and of researching fuel poverty, domestic energy policy issues and the impact of associated policy and practice interventions. Helen manages a team a social researchers at national fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action (NEA), and leads on the integration of research, policy and practice insights and evidence to support NEA as the expert voice on fuel poverty.

Helen’s areas of research interest span social policy and issues relating to poverty, energy and social justice. Helen is enthusiastic about exploring new methodological approaches for researching fuel poverty and the ways that knowledge can be better brokered between academia and those working in policy and practice.

As well as overseeing the Research Team’s wide and varied work programme, Helen sits on the Advisory Board of the Durham Energy Institute at Durham University.

Helen holds a BSc (Hons) in Sociology and Social Research, an MSc in Social Research and MSc in Public Administration, covering aspects of social policy development, policy analysis and public sector management.

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