Energy poverty in the UK: Is there a difference between rural and urban areas?

Energy poverty is a significant policy issue in the UK. An argument often raised is that rural households are more likely to be energy poor due to the nature of rural housing stock and also the more limited choice of energy sources in rural areas. However empirical evidence to support this argument is limited. This paper uses data from the British Household Panel Survey to explore whether the incidence and dynamics of energy poverty varies between rural and urban areas in the UK. In addition to descriptive analysis, discrete hazard models of energy poverty exit and re-entry are estimated and used to explore the impact of an increase in energy price. The results indicate that the influence of certain housing and personal characteristics differs by place of residence. After accounting for differences in the observed characteristics, the experience of energy poverty in urban areas was found to be on average longer with a higher probability of energy poverty persistence. Vulnerability to energy price increases was found to be high with a 20% increase in price leading to a 74% increase in the probability rural residents being trapped in energy poverty for five or more years. It is argued that a combination of household type and spatial targeting of policy support is required.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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