MORE than half of Barnsley’s homes have been identified as having poor energy efficiency ratings, new figures released this week revealed.

Energy performance certificates - known as EPC ratings - are ranked from A for most efficient to G for least efficient.

Analysis of energy efficiency ratings by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows 55 per cent of the borough’s homes now have a ranking of ‘D’ or below, meaning they are likely to be impacted by the rising cost of fuel.

Prime Minister Liz Truss announced that energy bills will be frozen at no more than £2,500 a year for all homes in England, Scotland and Wales, as part of a package of support aimed at tackling the cost-of-living crisis.

However, campaigners warned the new measures would be an ‘expensive sticking plaster’ if they were not accompanied by longer-term investment in energy efficiency and renewables.

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Adam Scorer, chief executive of fuel poverty charity National Energy Action, called the Prime Minister’s announcement ‘good news’ - but warned more must done for those most in need.

“The new government must not forget that the most vulnerable need targeted support,” he said.

“Those who use more energy in their homes because of medical conditions, those who are elderly and those on very low incomes need extra help, so they don’t have to ration their usage, putting their physical and mental health at risk.”

Latest figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy estimate there were around 20,798 E, F and G-designated homes in Barnsley.

Separate figures from charity Friends of the Earth show, as of August, 17 per cent of dwellings in Barnsley did not have their lofts insulated, and 13 per cent were without cavity wall insulation - equivalent to 18,900 and 15,100 homes respectively.

Simon Francis, from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, added: “The impact of measures taken pre-pandemic has barely shifted the dial and we know very little has been done since 2020 to change the picture.

“We need urgent help for households in fuel poverty now, combined with a long-term plan, to improve energy efficiency of our homes and a sustainable, renewable-led, energy mix.”

John Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne, told the Chronicle: “The crisis is getting worse - people are scared about how they will get through the winter.

“These figures show that people across Barnsley were already struggling with the cost of energy bills before prices spiralled even further out of control.

“My concern is that the number of people facing fuel poverty is now even higher.

“We can’t continue making working people pay whatever the big energy companies demand.”