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Title: Fuel poverty, older people and cold weather: An all-island analysis
Authors: Goodman, PG
McAvoy, H
Cotter, N
Monahan, E
Barrett, E
Browne, E
Zeka, A
Keywords: Fuel poverty;Older people
Issue Date: 2011
Citation: Dublin Institute of Technology, 2011
Abstract: Executive Summary This report covers a number of different aspects of fuel poverty and older people. 1. An exploration of existing government survey data from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland with a particular focus on older people and conducting additional targeted analyses where required. 2. An original survey in the Republic of Ireland exploring the lived experience of older people in cold weather. 3. A feasibility study of data logging thermometers placed in the homes of older tenants in local authority accommodation. 4. Analysis of excess winter mortality among older people including a consideration of differences between the two jurisdictions. Older people on the island of Ireland, as in many other countries, experience a ‘dual burden’ in terms of fuel poverty. They are more likely to experience fuel poverty and are also particularly vulnerable to health and social harm as a result of this experience. The numbers of older people vulnerable to ill-effects from cold homes will rise as numbers of people aged 80 and over, and those living with chronic illness or disability, increase. There were significant differences observed between expenditure-based, and subjective (EU-SILC) based fuel poverty indicators, for older people, and between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland data. This data required careful interpretation. The higher levels of fuel poverty recorded for older people on the island of Ireland appeared to be driven by all aspects of the fuel poverty model - poor housing condition, energy inefficient housing, rising fuel prices and low income. The majority of older people live in their own home and these homes tend to be older properties which are detached or semi-detached. Older people on the island are over-represented among houses which are in poor condition and which lack central heating in both jurisdictions. Lacking central heating was a more common experience for older people in the Republic of Ireland than in Northern Ireland. Data on energy efficiency measures were not comparable North/South but similar patterns were observed. Older people were less likely than the general population to have attic/loft or wall insulation or double glazing. Older people were also vulnerable from an income point of view. This would seem to be a particular issue in Northern Ireland where rates of income poverty are significantly increasing. In both jurisdictions older people were heavily reliant on social transfers to keep them out of poverty. Coupled with this, there is evidence that many older people are not claiming their full entitlements. Oil dependency was a particular issue in Northern Ireland. Very significant increases were observed in the price of heating oil, as well as electricity and gas in recent years. There was little available research evidence on the relationship between the older consumer and heating oil suppliers.
ISBN: 978-0-9570083-1-1
Appears in Collections:Institute for the Environment

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