ONE in six Barnsley households were in fuel poverty when the energy crisis began two years ago - but industry experts believe the situation is now much worse.

National Energy Action said the data ‘only tells part of the story’ as the energy crisis has worsened over the past two years.

Fuel poverty, exacerbated by inefficient properties, has been attributed as a major cause of Barnsley’s higher-than-average excess death rate during winter.

Figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy BEIS) show 19,140 households in Barnsley were in fuel poverty in 2021 - 17.3 per cent of homes in the area.

A household is considered to be fuel poor if they are living in a property with an energy efficiency rating of band D or below and their disposable income, after paying housing and energy costs, is below the official poverty line.

Adam Scorer, chief executive of National Energy Action, said increasing energy prices and falling income has pushed many into fuel poverty.( “Behind these figures are the stories of people we hear from every day - people in crisis, sacrificing hot meals or showers to afford a warm room, or forced to ration their energy despite it decimating their health,” he added.

“Yet, the two-year time lag on the data means we won’t know the full picture of the energy crisis until this time next year.

“The government figures released this week massively understate the current crisis.”

Cabinet members in Barnsley had approved £1.674m received from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to deliver improvements to 150 council houses.

A report issued to cabinet members said 100 homes with an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E, and 50 with a rating of F, will be targeted by the BEIS’s social housing decarbonisation fund (SHDF).

The majority of the cash was allocated on external wall insulation - estimated to cost £1.22m - with £163,333 allocated to underfloor insulation, £42,000 to cavity wall insulation and £30,940 to loft insulation.

“Participating in the SHDF scheme and procuring contractors via our dynamic purchasing system (DPS) will help to build the local green supply chain by adding to the pipeline of works we have in delivery,” a council report said.

“It provides a good opportunity to develop new partnerships directly with local and national contractors alike and prepare for the challenge of bringing all homes in the borough up to EPC band C by 2050 via a long-term retrofit programme.”