Energy plans won’t reduce fuel poverty
New government proposals aimed at cutting the cost of home heating bills will fail to help the vulnerable
Personal Finance Editor
Friday 23 November 2012
Energy Secretary Ed Davey confirmed this week that gas and electricity firms will be forced to switch customers to the cheapest tariffs. They will also be required to offer just four core tariffs rather than the hundreds currently offered.
But critics pointed out that the energy firms will simply raise the price of their cheapest tariffs, hitting vulnerable people even more. And there was further bad news yesterday for hard-up people strugging to meet rising energy costs.
The government’s green energy strategy, full details of which will be included in next week’s Energy Bill, could add £75 to the cost of home heating by the end of the decade. Energy firms will be able to reclaim the costs of building greener nuclear reactors and wind farms through customers’ bills.
Households are already reeling from this autumn’s gas and electricity price hikes, which saw energy giant British Gas increase bills by around £80, pushing up annual costs to a record £1,346.
A spokesperson from Barnardo’s said the government’s proposals on prices don’t go far enough. “Fuel tariffs need to be cheaper for those on low incomes. The current measures will do nothing to help the poorest families unless fuel prices fall.”
The children’s charity also called on all energy companies to ensure that those on pre-payment meters are put on the lowest tariffs.
Ed Matthew, of the Energy Bill Revolution, said: “No one should kid themselves that the proposals will bring down energy bills. The only real, long-term solution to high energy bills is to make every UK home highly energy efficient.”
Research published by Age UK on Thursday showed that the soaring cost of heating homes is leading to more winter deaths than ever.
Figures for last winter are due to be published by the Office of National Statistics next Thursday, but over the past decade there has been an average of 26,700 excess winter deaths each year.
“It’s an absolute scandal that tens of thousands of older people will become ill or die this winter because they are unable to keep warm,” said Michelle Mitchell of Age UK.
“At the root of the problem are badly insulated homes which, together with cripplingly high energy prices, are leaving millions of older people having to choose between heating and eating.”
The charity has calculated that the extra care arising out of illnesses caused by the cold cost the country some £1.36bn every year. Meanwhile things look set to get worse with 1.4m households in debt to their gas supplier, according to a survey by Moneysupermarket.
It warns that each billpayer owes on average £128.
Mr Davey is chairing next month’s Fair Energy Summit, hosted by The Independent and Policy Review Intelligence.
It will bring together consumer groups, charities and other experts to quiz energy company bosses about rising prices and whether the government’s latest proposals will be effective.
The summit, supported by British Gas, Co-operative Energy and E.ON, will be held in London on 17 December, and readers are invited to send in their questions and comments to email@example.com as well as contribute during a live internet broadcast.
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014: In defence of Mesut Ozil - the Arsenal midfielder works magic in the shadows
- 3 Do you know this man? Amnesia sufferer found in park pleads for help in identifying who he is
- 4 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 5 Tony Abbott embarrasses Australia by praising Japanese WWII military, ‘getting on the sake’ and posing for ‘crotch-shot’ photo opportunity
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global leader in trading platforms and e...
£28000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A fast growing consultancy to the financia...
£30000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Support Analyst - Liverpool Stre...
£65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: One of the world's largest privately owned...
Day In a Page
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar
A newly refurbished one-bedroom flat in the heart of Mayfair, close to Grosvenor Square
A charming four-bedroom house overlooking Burleigh Square Park, close to Thorpe Bay