Fuel poverty: Ed Davey pledges to fight rising energy bills
Energy Minister accuses critics of the Government’s social and environmental policies of 'misleading' public
Energy Minister Ed Davey today pledged to fight rising energy bills at The Fair Energy Summit held in London.
He told electricity and gas company bosses, regulators and consumer groups at the Summit, arranged by The Independent and Policy Review Intelligence, that: “Ensuring that consumers get a good deal is one of my top priorities.”
And he took on critics of the Government’s social and environmental policies head first accusing them of “being misleading over the true impact of [the policies] on energy bills”.
A report from think tank IPPR published on the morning of the Fair Energy Summit suggested that the new Energy Company Obligation (ECO) will leave two million fuel poor households out in the cold.
ECO will oblige energy suppliers to improve the energy-efficiency of fuel poor homes to tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions. But IPPR predicts that fuel-poor household that don’t receive support will be pushed further into fuel poverty.
That’s because ECO may increase the cost of energy-efficiency policies above the £50 that current policies ad to the average bill to as much as £116, IPPR reckon.
But Mr Davey said: “Energy companies have been suggesting that ECO will increase bills. I believe there is no good basis for this claim.”
“We estimate the overall cost of ECO at an average of £1.3bn per year – that’s the same as the current supplier obligations. So ECO should impose no new costs.”
He said that uncertainties about cost estimates are the fault of energy suppliers. “One of the key difficulties in reaching estimates has been the lack of transparency from the energy companies.
“They have not given us a clear picture of how much they were spending to comply with previous obligations. And we don’t know what costs they’ve been passing through to consumers.”
He demanded that the energy companies start to play their part in tackling the growing shame of fuel poverty, after a report also published on the morning of the Summit by the Government’s Fuel Poverty Advisory Group suggested 300,000 more people could fall into the fuel poverty trap by Christmas.
But Phil Bentley, UK boss of British Gas, said at the Summit that government, too, must play its part.
“The better targeting of Winter Fuel Payment would, alone, make a significant difference in helping to tackle fuel poverty,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, Tony Cocker, chief executive of E.ON UK said: “The Fair Energy Summit was an important event as it highlights our belief that we must all focus on people not just prices. As today has shown, the more all participants in the energy debate help consumers understand why energy costs are going up the more likely they will be to get engaged with managing their own spending.”
Nigel Mason, business development manager of Co-operative Energy said: ”The only way the big energy suppliers will win back consumers' trust is to be completely transparent about their costs, including their energy costs, which will only happen if they are forced to buy and sell all their energy on the open market, so that customers can see fair play.“
Reg Platt of the Institute for Public Policy Research said at the Summit: “We need to stop the blame game on rising energy prices. Government needs to make sure its energy efficiency policies are as cost effective as possible. But it is vital to recognise that energy efficiency is by far the cheapest way to tackle fuel poverty and reduce emissions and we need to do everything we can to make sure that the Government’s new policies work.”
Following the Summit, Policy Review Intelligence called on both energy companies and the Government to do more to deliver a fairer energy deal for consumers.
“It is understandable that there are concerns with regards to the rising cost of energy and the fairness of the energy market – it is important that these concerns are addressed,” Said Gavin Hayes of Policy Review Intelligence.
“The key challenge is finding solutions to ensure that consumers have the confidence that they are paying a fair price for the energy they use; that they are receiving a fair service from their supplier and they are getting a fair deal from Government. If trust on this basic level can be improved, then it will be easier to engage customers in checking their tariffs and improving energy efficiency levels.”
In order for consumers to have the confidence that they are paying a fair price for energy and to ensure greater fairness across the energy market, Mr Hayes believes that energy suppliers and the Government should sign up to the following Fair Energy Commitments.
- Energy companies should be obliged to offer their customers the best tariff available to them.
- Energy companies should commit to phasing out all practices of predatory pricing – this should specifically mean abolishing any loss leader tariffs, so that all customers have the confidence that they are paying a fair price and not subsidising others.
- The Regulator should also commit to stamping out predatory pricing by using its existing powers of enforcement.
- Energy companies need to keep things simple – including committing to no more complex pricing structures, limiting the number of tariffs to give the best balance between simplicity and choice and making bills as easy to understand by the customer as possible
- The Government should commit to ensure that all taxes raised from energy are spent on energy, to make sure that energy taxes are appropriated and used fairly.
- The Government must ensure that the reforms outlined in the Energy Bill that directly impact on the price or service that customers receive from their energy company are clearly explained and communicated to them in simple and easy to understand terms.
Market fairness, transparency and diversity:
- Energy companies must be completely open and transparent about their business activities.
- In the interests of greater fairness, transparency and market liquidity all energy companies should commit to gradually phasing in the auction of all their electricity supply and purchase all their electricity demand on transparent markets and further commit to work with the Regulator to improve liquidity in the market.
- The Government should continue to reduce the barriers to entry to the energy supply market for new providers, in particular tapering the thresholds at which the full licence conditions apply to small providers and ensuring that no customer is disadvantaged by any exemptions that apply to small providers.
Energy consumption and efficiency, tackling fuel poverty and support for vulnerable groups:
- All energy companies must take both their environmental and social responsibilities seriously, specifically including providing help and support for their fuel poor customers through the ECO scheme – recognising that increasing the energy efficiency of homes is by far the best way forward in tackling the energy cost challenge. Current energy efficiency measures are simply not sufficient – the Government’s own impact assessment estimates that with Green Deal and ECO only between 125,000 to 250,000 households will be lifted out of fuel poverty by 2023 - a more vigorous programme of investment, starting with the areas of poorest quality and thermal efficiency, is needed – energy suppliers need to play a greater role in ensuring this happens.
- The Government should bring forward the current 2018 date by which all private rented properties must be brought up to a minimum energy efficiency standard rating.
- All energy companies should adopt the same wide criteria for the £130 Warm Home Discount and actively encourage their customers most in need to apply for it.
- The Government should look into whether targeting the current £200 winter fuel payment would be a more effective way of assisting households most in need.
- As part of its climate change and energy efficiency strategy, the Government should ensure that energy literacy is included in the school curriculum.
- 1 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...
Day In a Page
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
Surrounded by the Western fells, this five-bedroom Georgian home retains many original features including panel-plastered ceilings, sash windows and fireplaces.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof