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Profits Doubled - Only One Percent Spent On Help
A coalition of Age Concern, Child Poverty Action Group, and National Energy Action is issuing a challenge to the Government and energy industry to make social tariffs fair for the 5.5 million households who are likely to be in fuel poverty this winter.
The majority of money spent on social assistance schemes is used to subsidise discounted tariffs. However, as a recent cross-party committee of MPs has warned, Social tariffs are failing to help the most vulnerable households out of fuel poverty. Only a minority of those in fuel poverty are on these tariffs and these rates are not always the cheapest offered by energy suppliers. These tariffs are not sufficiently publicised and are not included on price comparison websites.
The coalition is calling for radical reforms to make social tariffs fit for purpose: Social tariffs must be made mandatory and should be the lowest rate offered by suppliers, regardless of geographical location.
Social tariffs should be made available to all vulnerable households who need them. Targets should be set to help switch vulnerable customers to social tariffs with penalties considered for energy companies that fail to take action. Social tariffs should be promoted more widely and included on price comparison sites and help lines. As ministers discuss how to help people cope with rising energy prices the organisations are urging the Government to take the lead by working with suppliers on reforming social tariffs, as even some of the energy companies have admitted that voluntary social tariffs aren’t adequate.
Four of the big six energy companies have already announced further price rises to counteract a dip in profits for the first half of this year, and the rest are set to follow – which is likely to push another million households into fuel poverty. Energy companies have committed to spending an extra £50million on social assistance schemes this year, but this is just a drop in the ocean of what is needed to help the millions living in fuel poverty, and a fraction of the profits being made.
REHACARE.de; Source: Age Concern
- More about Age Concern at: www.ageconcern.org