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Energy Costs : Price Cap / Rises / Bankruptcies / Scandals / News And Other Related Issues - Carers UK Forum

Energy Costs : Price Cap / Rises / Bankruptcies / Scandals / News And Other Related Issues

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
89 posts
A rarity under one of our ESSENTIALS ... an article from the Guardian as to the proposed cap on energy costs :

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/ ... ergy-bills

Theresa May under pressure to introduce price cap on energy bills.

Letter to prime minister signed by 192 MPs said move would protect millions of families on standard variable tariffs

Theresa May has been urged to revive her election pledge to put a price cap on energy bills by more than 70 Conservative MPs who signed a cross-party letter to the prime minister before the party’s conference this weekend.

In the letter to May and the business secretary, Greg Clark, MPs said the move would protect families on standard variable tariffs.

Clark wrote to Ofgem in June after the general election asking it to safeguard “customers on the poorest value tariff”, appearing to water down the Conservative manifesto pledge to introduce a cap on standard variable tariffs used by millions of homes.

Ofgem is planning a much narrower cap on bills for the 2 million people eligible for the warm home discount, an existing annual £140 payment for households on certain benefits. The regulator is expected to formally publish the plans within days, with the change taking effect in January so people would enjoy some savings this winter.

In a letter signed by 192 MPs, including Labour and SNP and the Green party co-leader, Caroline Lucas, they said action on energy bills was promised in three party manifestos.

“We hope you will work with us and Ofgem to stop this big six stitch-up, and pledge to help the millions of households who Ofgem seem set to ignore,” it says.

The letter was co-ordinated by the Conservative MP John Penrose, who has led calls in his party for a cap, as well as Labour’s Caroline Flint and the SNP’s Patricia Gibson.

Penrose said the big six energy companies had “ripped off 17 million consumers and yet Ofgem have chosen to stand idly by, leaving 15 million customers on SVTs [standard variable tariffs] to be preyed upon”.

“If Ofgem won’t challenge the big six and stand up for consumers, the government should replace it and implement the energy price cap itself,” he said. “This was a manifesto pledge in the Conservative, Labour and SNP election campaigns, and the breadth and depth of cross-party signatures on this letter shows huge support for the government to get this through parliament.”

Whislt the above article deals with electricity and gas prices , WHAT ABOUT those using oil and propane gas ?

I still await details from Trussells as to whether or not both these essential heatings costs will be tackled in line with their prepayment meter scheme run out of the majority of their food banks.

I have also liaised with Wendy at Chill 4Us on the situation in North Norfolk , and , through Wendy to local mp , Norman Lamb ... he of Carers Radio Election Night fame ... not a word on the fuel situation !

One I always keep an eye open ... more will follow as and when.

In a short phrase .... ESSENTIALS SHOULD NEVER BE LEFT TO THE FREE MARKET ECONOMY ... a phrase said at the time of privatisation , the selling off of OUR crown jewels for the sake of short term gain.

End result ?

Those with money to invest have done well in terms of capital appreciation , and steadly increasing dividends.

In contrast , just how many millions are now in " Fuel poverty ? "

To either eat or heat ... a new saying in today's Sad New World.

Actual reality for low millions ... if not over 10 million by end of January 2018.
Cool and fresh this morining in the Worksop Gulag , time to post an article from the Money Saving Expert web site on oil heating costs :

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilit ... eating-oil

The 1.3 million UK households who rely on a heating oil tank to warm their homes risk overpaying due to an under-regulated market that gets too little political attention. There's no slick solution, but there are things you can try to cut heating oil prices.

This is our home heating oil cost-cutting system, to ensure you're not missing out on key moves to cut your bills. Prices have risen again recently and the average annual bill for a typical three-bedroom home is now £785. But, prices are seasonal and as winter nears, the costs are going up. If you want to beat the seasonal price hikes, now's a great time to stock up on heating oil.

No excuse for not reading this one if you are relying on oil to provide heat.

Virtually everything you need to know inside one article !
Excellent article from the Guardian focusing on the proposed energy cap :

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... ice-capped

If energy companies are price-capped, they will have only themselves to blame.

With 192 MPs calling for the Tories to deliver on their manifesto pledge, the sector should be focusing on value for customers rather than shareholders

In short , the headline says it all !

Companies that do not work towards shared prosperity, striving to create value for customers, for their employees and for society as a whole, and which focus primarily on shareholder value, are fuelling public anger and inviting government scrutiny and intervention. Business and society thrive together, and as business leaders we need to understand that it is through sharing our success with society that we invest in our own future.

Academic type talk but cuts to the very heart of this Issue.

The privatisation of one of the " Essentials " for tryiing to survive in today's Sad New World.

Usual comments section ... one of particular interest which , I am sure , many readers will relate to :

It's about time... We have had to put up with decades of rampant profiteering by a cartel of lookalike companies who are quick to put up prices when wholesale prices go up by very slow to put them down when they plummets - as they have many times.

The introduction of small service companies is not the answer as there is no real competition between providers where they are engineering prices amongst the cartel.

Bring these companies back into public ownership has to be the answer - and many MPs agree with this.

These are companies which we built at the taxpayers expense in the 60's and 70's and it is the taxpayer who should benefit from any profits.

The cartel have invested very little in improving the infrastructure compared to the huge profits they generate.

Yes, we need to bring the supply and retail infrastructure back into public ownership and then we can manage the transition to clean energy sources in a managed way and with less impact on the customer.

With the cartel in place a clean energy model would be many decades if not centuries away as they are only interested in the cheapest [and most polluting sources].

Go on Parliament - make a decision which is in the interests of the wider public for once!
For any reader hoping to see a " Price Cap " before this winter rears it's ugly head .... think again :

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/ ... s-industry

Energy price cap will not take effect this winter, says industry,

Consumers likely to have to wait until late 2018 for legislation promised by Theresa May to take force.

Energy industry figures have said it is virtually impossible for Theresa May’s wide-ranging cap on energy bills to take effect this winter, as ministers suggested bills for some consumers could be capped within months.

Draft legislation will be published next week to help the regulator Ofgem cap prices for the 12m households in England, Wales and Scotland on standard variable tariffs, the poor value deals that apply to the 70% of people not on special deals or whose special deals have ended.

Asked whether caps could be imposed this winter, Greg Clark, the business secretary, said: “Consumers who are suffering a detriment … could receive early relief for that.”

Clark appeared to be referring to a plan due soon from Ofgem, which is understood to be a narrower cap for 2m vulnerable households to take effect in January.

But a source at one of the big six suppliers said May’s threat on Wednesday of much wider action might now affect the introduction of that limited cap, which companies had reluctantly accepted.

“If you’re going to destroy the market [with a wide-ranging cap], why should we collaborate? Ofgem had essentially built the speed of its process on goodwill,” the source said.

Implementing the cap on all standard variable tariffs this winter would be “extremely challenging”, said a second industry source. “This draft legislation will slow things up,” said an executive at another big supplier.

The draft bill will be scrutinised by the business, energy and industrial strategy committee. That process is expected to take between eight and 12 weeks. Getting it passed in parliament should be possible as Labour, the Conservatives and the Scottish National party all supported a cap in their manifestos.

But even with the legislation in place, Ofgem has a statutory requirement to consult with energy firms on a standard variable tariff cap.

That process would take at least six months, suggesting that the earliest most householders would see any benefit on their bills would be late 2018.

A source at one large supplier said there would clearly be legal challenges during the consultation process.

“One thing I do know about putting in place price caps is if you don’t follow due process, you are absolutely facing a legal challenge,” said another.

One of the big energy companies now views a cap on standard variable tariffs as inevitable and believes the best thing is to influence its shape rather than try to stop it, possibly by making it a relative rather than an absolute.

A relative cap, which has been proposed by the Tory MP John Penrose, would see an energy supplier’s most expensive tariff pegged at no more than a certain percentage above the cheapest one.

One of the big questions will be at what level the cap is set, and what the mechanism will be for it being raised or lowered. The cap for 2m vulnerable households was planned to be £1,048 a year, compared with the average standard variable tariff of £1,142 offered by the big six.

One comparison site warned that if the ceiling were set too low, the smallest of the 60-plus suppliers in the market could fold.

“If Ofgem sets a hard cap at a low price, it may knock many of the little guys out of business as they work on a model of selling very cheap energy in year one and making their money back in year two,” said Mark Todd, co-founder of energyhelpline.

Centrica, the UK’s biggest energy company and the owner of British Gas, said evidence from around the world showed price caps did not work.

“The main problem with the market is the standard variable tariff, and rather than cap them … we believe the standard variable tariff should come to an end, for good,” said its chief executive, Iain Conn.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow business secretary, said: “After months of confusion from the Conservatives about the energy price cap and no less than three U-turns, it now seems possible that prices may not be capped at all.
“The government appears to be proposing to merely give Ofgem the power to institute a more wide-ranging cap, without compelling it to do so.”

Smoke and mirrors again ?

Ofgem ?

A comment from the GMB Union which appears in another article in today's Guardian :

The GMB union reiterated that Ofgem should be abolished and all its regulatory functions taken over by the government, making its regulatory role accountable to parliament with the powers to cap prices if deemed necessary part of the forthcoming legislation.

Justin Bowden, the GMB national secretary, said: “Ofgem has been a toothless wonder that passed its use-by date years ago, it is not fit for purpose and now is the time for it to be replaced.”

I'll colour code the above when the INK function is restored.
Yet another take on the Price Cap Issue :

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/ ... ces-uk-cap

May's pledge on 'rip-off' energy prices keeps UK in dark over cap on bills.

‘Big six’ did not appear to like it, but lack of clarity in speech and clarifications suggest cap is unlikely to come in time for winter.

Theresa May’s pledge to cap “rip-off” energy prices is about as clear as the average electricity and gas bill.

The prime minister promised to introduce a draft bill next week to give the energy regulator, Ofgem, powers to cap the bills of people being “punished” for their loyalty and their inability to shop around.

But the Conservatives later admitted that they were only giving Ofgem the powers to impose a cap for everyone on a standard variable tariff, not actually ordering the regulator to impose it.

Ofgem had been expected to announce a much narrower cap this week, for 2m vulnerable households, to take effect in January, and the energy companies had reluctantly accepted that.

But now the Tories say that if Ofgem’s plan does not go far enough, the new powers would allow it to “go further”, ie implement a cap on 15m households not 2m. It’s not clear what criteria would be used to judge what “far enough” is.

Technically, Ofgem already has the power to implement such a cap now, but it would be open to challenges by energy suppliers. Legislation should head off that risk.

In a statement, the regulator said: “We share the government’s concern that the market is not working for all consumers, especially the vulnerable, and will work with the government on their plans announced today to better protect consumers on poor value deals.”

But Ofgem was unable to say whether its cap for 2m households would still go ahead in January, saying it was reviewing plans after May’s Conservative party conference speech.

This lack of clarity means the prospect of a cap coming soon enough to help people heat and light their homes this winter seems unlikely. The energy industry has privately warned it will fight a wide-ranging cap and suggested such a plan would take at least a year to implement.

We are also in the dark on what level any cap, whether it’s for 2m or 15m households, will be set at. The average dual fuel standard variable tariff of the big six suppliers is £1,142 a year. An existing cap for 4m vulnerable households on prepayment meters is at £1,048, so a wide-ranging cap of the sort May promised is unlikely to go lower.

That means that, as with student tuition fees, Labour’s offer is financially more attractive. The party’s manifesto promised to cap the average bill below £1,000.

May’s announcement has sent the share price of British Gas’s parent company, Centrica, crashing by nearly 6%, to a 14-year low. Shares in the UK’s second biggest stock market listed energy company, SSE, fell 2.6%.

The energy industry reacted by warning that May was putting competition at risk and a cap could have unintended effects.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, which represents suppliers, said: “Over 3 million consumers have switched already this year and the number of standard tariffs have fallen by almost a million in the last six months. It is important that we do not risk halting this growth of competition and engagement in the market.”

SSE said: “Detailed consultation is required to help avoid any unintended consequences.”

Comparison sites warned that the move could push up prices in the long run.

But some of the smaller challenger companies and consumer groups welcomed the prospect of a cap.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, chief executive of Ovo, said: “This intervention will stimulate innovation and promote efficiency that will benefit millions of customers.” First Utility, another medium-sized supplier, said: “Time has finally been called on the big six’s behaviour.”

Gillian Guy, chief executive of the charity Citizens Advice, said: “The prime minister’s announcement of a cap on energy bills could provide a solution to the runaway energy costs that the millions of people on default tariffs have faced for years.”

Well folks ... for 13 million+ , THAT choice of either eating or heating is an actual reality.

So much for the FIRST priority of a Government ..... to protect it's citizens .....
BBC web site .... draft plans for an energy cap now published ... nothing for oil / propane gas users ( So far ... ? ) :


Energy price cap plans revealed

As the article contains mainly graphs and tables , best to read first hand ... displaying graphs and tables almost impossible in posts on this forum.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the energy market "has to offer fairer prices for millions of loyal customers who have been paying hundreds of pounds too much".

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said that customers of the big six energy suppliers were "overpaying to the tune of £1.4bn a year".

"That is simply wrong," he said, adding that the draft legislation would send a "clear message to suppliers they must act to put an end to loyal consumers being treated so unfairly".
Competition threat

However, Steve Smith, director of energy switching firm Flipper and former Ofgem board member, said a cap could push up fixed fees.

"A regulated price means people will switch off and think 'the government's looking after me'," he told the BBC.

It was clear Ofgem was being told to implement the cap by the government, Mr Smith said, but the cap went against the advice of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

"It could actually do harm to competition and means many customers will end up paying a lot more. If two-thirds of the market is covered by a cap you start to question whether it's a market at all."

Energy firm E.On has said it will scrap standard variable tariffs from next year for customers using smart meters, and Scottish Power has also said it is better to scrap the tariffs than cap them.

But Mr Smith said the firms were "not actually doing anything about standard variable tariffs for the large number of customers who had never switched".

He added that the £1.4bn figure quoted by Mr Clark, which came from the CMA, was "entirely hypothetical" and controversial.

"They talk about this £1.4bn of excess profits - it's not money you'd go and find in the [energy] companies accounts, it was a very hypothetical view of the Competition and Markets Authority on how the companies should run themselves and how efficient they could be."

Alex Neill of consumer body Which? said although the cap might sound like a positive move for consumers, "the government must guard against any unintended consequences that undermine customer service and push up prices as a whole".

The plan to cap energy charges was revived last week by Mrs May.

However, Ofgem said on Wednesday that it would have to wait for legislation to be in force before it could take action on standard variable tariffs.

The draft legislation will be scrutinised by a committee of MPs intended to build cross-party consensus on how the price cap will work.

The draft Bill follows an announcement on Wednesday by Ofgem to extend a prepayment tariff price cap to another one million vulnerable households, saving them £120 a year, although this will not take effect until February.

However, Ofgem said on Wednesday that it would have to wait for legislation to be in force before it could take action on standard variable tariffs.

The draft legislation will be scrutinised by a committee of MPs intended to build cross-party consensus on how the price cap will work.

The draft Bill follows an announcement on Wednesday by Ofgem to extend a prepayment tariff price cap to another one million vulnerable households, saving them £120 a year, although this will not take effect until February.

Comments section available towards the bottom by clicking on the highlighted link.

I cannot speak for any other reader but .... cutting the fixed standard charge , and increasing the actual tariff , would be beneficial for me ... the standard fixed charge can be as high as 40% of the the total bill.

Pay for what one uses ?
Another angle on the proposed energy cap ... from today's Daily Chuckle :

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... ition.html

Tory revolt as May's energy price cap 'throttles competition' instead of protecting customers by tying standard rates to the cheapest deals.

Fears the 'absolute' cap proposed by ministers will 'throttle' price competition
Rebels want standard rate prices tied to a firm's cheapest deals for fuel
May announced her plans for an energy price cap in her conference speech

A Tory revolt was underway today as Theresa May unveiled energy price controls that placed an absolute cap on bills.

Business Secretary Greg Clark is publishing draft laws today in a bid to force regulator Ofgen to toughen up its own plans to protect consumers.

The Government plans place a maximum bill on standard rate tariffs and will stop price increases on 18 million customer accounts for three years.

But ex-Tory minister John Penrose - who organised a lobby of 213 MPs from across the Commons to demand a price cap - said Mrs May's plan would 'throttle competition'.

Mr Penrose said a relative price cap, where standard tariffs are tied to a firm's cheapest deals, would maintain competition while stopping rip off deals.

Just a handful of Tory rebels could doom Mrs May's draft laws if they fail to win Labour's support. Jeremy Corbyn's party wants much tougher controls.

Announcing her draft plans today, Mrs May said: 'I have been clear that our broken energy market has to change - it has to offer fairer prices for millions of loyal customers who have been paying hundreds of pounds too much.

Today's publication of draft legislation is a vital step towards fixing that and in offering crucial peace of mind for ordinary working families all over the country.'

Ex-Tory minister John Penrose - who organised a lobby of 213 MPs from across the Commons to demand a price cap - said Mrs May's plan would 'throttle competition'

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: 'The energy market is broken.

'It punishes loyalty - the independent competition authority found millions of people who are customers of the Big Six suppliers are overpaying to the tune of £1.4 billion a year.

'That is simply wrong. While five million households will see their bills capped from this winter, I want to see every household protected from rip-off bills.

'That is why we have published this draft legislation today - sending a clear message to suppliers they must act to put an end to loyal consumers being treated so unfairly.'

Mr Penrose welcomed progress on having a cap.

But he said: 'It's great that we're moving on to think about how, rather than if, we make it happen.

'A temporary relative price cap puts the customer in charge, so energy firms compete to offer the best, most creative and attractive deals.

'An absolute cap would throttle competition, be out of date as soon as the wholesale price of gas goes up or down, and energy firms would spend more time lunching their regulators than delighting their customers.

'The challenger energy companies - the competition we're trying to promote - want the cap to be relative and temporary, which should tell us we're on the right track, and so do 213 MPs from all political parties.'

Mr Penrose's list of 213 supporters includes 76 Conservatives - more than enough to smash the Government's control of the Commons.

Sources close to Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday Labour wanted to see more than a simple cap. Labour has demanded energy re-nationalisation.

They said: 'The proposals from the Government don't meet the priorities we set out in our election manifesto.

'Any proposals they bring forward we would seek to amend and turn into what we actually have proposed.

'What Jeremy has said last week is the Tories have started to help themselves to watered down bits of our manifesto - they are welcome to all of it but they should go the whole hog and then we would vote in favour.'

Feasting on their own young ?

More concern that future dividends will be cut / share price to fall ?

Whatever .... there are several million in fuel poverty.

THAT should be their number one priority !!!

One comment from the section ... plain and simple :

We can either have a privately owned energy supply companies who are free to make as much profit as they can, as that is what capitalism is or we take them all back into public ownership and keep prices down. One or the other, there is no choice . Could people please understand that .
More from the Daily Chuckle , this time on household debt for energy rising :

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/bills/ ... r-121.html

More than two million households are in debt to their energy supplier - and they owe £121 on average

2.6 million UK households owe an average of £121 to their energy supplier

Usually households are in credit at this time of year after the summer months

A third of those in debt have no way of paying off the debt to their provider

It is still possible for consumers to switch if they have debts of £500 or less

For once , their usual scaremongering contains a great deal of fact and ... concern !

One in ten households are in debt to their energy supplier, by an average of £121, new research has revealed.

The 2.6 million households collectively owe £318 million and a third of those either have no plans to repay the debt or can't afford to.

This is an increase of 9 per cent in the past 12 months at a time when traditionally households are in credit after the summer months.

Typically households paying via direct debit build up credit in their energy accounts over the summer months when their usage is lower.

This is often then used to meet higher bills over the winter months when the heating is on more and costs are higher.

But the research, which was compiled from a survey of 2,006 adults by comparison website uSwitch, shows that one in 10 households are already in debt to their supplier.

Of those in debt to their supplier, 31 per cent said they planned to pay it off by increasing their monthly direct debit, 21 per cent said they would be able to pay it off in a lump sum and 28 per cent had no plan for meeting the debt.

Respondents were also asked how they felt about upcoming bills and 38 per cent said they were already worrying about how they would pay for winter energy bills and 36 per cent said recent energy bill price hikes would mean they would have to put the heating on less this year.

Typically consumers paying their provider's standard variable tariff will have higher bills than those with a fixed-rate tariff.

This is because standard tariffs are susceptible to price rises and falls whereas with fixed-rate tariffs the price paid per unit of energy remains the same for the duration of the fix, which is usually 12 months.

All of the Big Six energy suppliers have increased prices this year and providers have blamed these hikes on rising wholesale prices and an increase to the cost of Government schemes such as the smart meter roll-out.

But by switching to a fixed-rate deal, consumers can save a significant amount – especially if it's been a while since their last energy switch.

In fact the comparison website claims that up to 10 per cent of consumers switching on its website saved £618 or more last year.

It also says that while 93 per cent of consumers are away they can save money by switching suppliers, just 25 per cent are planning to do so within the next 12 months.

To find out exactly how much you could save by switching, it's always worth doing your own comparison based on your personal usage and your postcode, which you can do with our tool on the right.

Claire Osborne, energy expert at uSwitch, says: 'We're only just into autumn, but already millions of households are in debt to their energy supplier.

'With the days now getting shorter and the heating staying on for longer it may be easier than you think to get out of the red and take control of your energy bills.

'Households have suffered a barrage of price rises this year but they can turn the tables on the energy companies by voting with their feet, and save hundreds of pounds in the process. A cheaper tariff could mean the difference between shivering through the winter and potentially becoming ill, or having a warm home.

'More than 60 per cent of us are still on expensive standard tariffs, needlessly paying more for the same gas and electricity as they could get on a cheaper deal. Switching is quick and simple and means consumers can start saving right now before we head into winter.'

Standard variable tariffs, which are the most expensive available, have been under fire repeatedly in the past year.

Last year, the Competition and Markets Authority published the results of an investigation into the energy market that found those on these tariffs were collectively overpaying by around £1.4 billion every year.

In the run-up to the run-up to the general election Theresa May also proposed an energy cap for all consumers with one of these tariffs, and this week she is expected to confirm these plans.

Ofgem has also today confirmed that a price cap will be introduced in February 2018 for one million vulnerable energy customers who currently receive the Warm Home Discount.

It seems that the ancient art of " Tin panning " will be seen in many areas.

Whenever a tallyman or landlord is spotted , the spotter , usually the housewife , bangs on her saucepan to warn all others of the approaching suits ... still common practice in some areas where even the Google street map vehicle fears to visit !

Last one seen around this manor maybe spotted in the local canal !
Some GOOD news for a change ... well , after one has fallen through that illusionary safety net ?

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/ ... ergy-bills

Legal costs capped for those who can't pay energy bills.

Charges incurred by gas and electricity companies limited to £150 after Ofgem rules to protect improverished customers.

Gas and electricity customers who have fallen so far behind with their payments that they are forced to have a prepayment meter, are to have their court and legal charges capped at £150 by the energy regulator.

Ofgem said that energy suppliers typically bill customers £400 – but sometimes as much as £900 – to cover the costs they incur when they go to court to obtain permission to install a pre-payment meter.

Around 40,000 gas and electricity customers a year are landed with the bills, almost always when their personal finances are on a shoestring.

The current rules allow suppliers to charge warrant and other court costs to the customer, even though this may push the affected household further into debt with the supplier.

Following a consultation, Ofgem said on Friday that the maximum charge relating to the replacement of a pay-monthly meter will be set at £150. As well as the cap, the new measures prohibit suppliers levying any prepayment meter warrant charges, and ban pre-payment installations for people for whom the experience would be severely traumatic, for example, due to mental health issues.

The measures will take effect on 8 January next year.

Rachel Fletcher, Ofgem’s senior partner for consumers and competition, said: “At the moment vulnerable customers face a double blow when they’re hit with high warrant charges on top of existing debt – risking making their situations worse. The measures will protect all consumers, including the most vulnerable, from experiencing unnecessary hardship due to having a meter installed under warrant.

“We want to send a strong message to suppliers that using a warrant to install a pre-payment meter is a last resort. They must step in early to help customers manage debt through repayment plans.”

In April, Ofgem introduced a safeguard tariff to protect customers on prepayment meters overpaying for their energy. Last month Ofgem announced it would extend this safeguard tariff to one million vulnerable customers, from next February. There are plans to extend this safeguard tariff to a further two million vulnerable customers next winter, depending on the timing of the government’s cap on standard default tariffs.

Energy companies ... the words PROFIT and PARASITE spring to mind.

Switch to a prepayment mechanical catherine wheel when in trouble ... nice ... what's the additional mark up on those ... especially IF yours goes through the landlord's meter first ?????
Anyone with a boiler playing up / broken down ... more bad news :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... me-funding

People left without heating due to spending cuts, says fuel poverty group.

Health of low-income households at risk as funding cuts slash support for replacing and repairing boilers, pressure group warns.

No gas boilers have been repaired since April under a government scheme intended to combat fuel poverty, as a result of spending cuts that risk leaving poorer Britons unprotected from the cold at home, according to a fuel poverty pressure group.

National Energy Action (NEA), which obtained the figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), said the drop in official support via the energy company obligation (ECO) threatens the health of low-income households. Peter Smith, NEA’s director of policy, said: “This leaves thousands of people with existing medical conditions facing a winter without any effective space heating or hot water.”

Consumers fund the ECO through their energy bills, but its annual budget has been cut from £800m to £640m as part of government attempts to reduce bills. The scheme’s spending has been concentrated on replacing a small number of faulty boilers, rather than repairing them.

But the number of replacement boilers being installed through the ECO programme has fallen from a high of 85,000 in 2013 to a low of 7,000 between April and June this year. No gas boilers have been repaired since April.
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Temperatures in Britain were expected to drop below freezing on Sunday night as autumn turns to winter, with forecasters predicting that a cold spell could last for several weeks. A scattering of snow was reported in Cumbria on Sunday, the first in the UK this winter, with snowfall expected on higher ground in Scotland on Monday.

Dan Jarvis, the Labour MP for Barnsley Central, said the decline in funding for vulnerable households was causing unnecessary hardship. “Sadly I know all too well this is bound to have very negative consequences in my constituency, causing needless winter deaths and acute suffering.”

The lack of support for repairing and replacing boilers has been raised several times in parliament recently, but NEA accused the government of failing to recognise the severity of the problem. NEA said its research showed engineers and local authorities were making daily contact with people who had had their gas appliances condemned but could not afford to fix them because of a lack of official support.

The charity estimated that over the past four years more than £5bn of public money has been spent treating health problems caused by cold homes. It argues that funds should be spent making vulnerable households warmer and more efficient.

At the recent launch of the government’s clean growth strategy, ministers committed to continuing the ECO scheme until 2028. But it is unclear how much funding it will receive.

A spokesman for BEIS defended its policy, saying: “Government action is decreasing the fuel poverty gap and we made a long-term commitment to continue funding the ECO programme at current levels as part of the clean growth strategy.

“We’re replacing boilers rather than repairing them, with 13,000 installed between April and August alone, and funds available for thousands more. Overall, the ECO scheme is on track to upgrade the energy efficiency of well over 200,000 homes in 2017.”

Chris Bielby, the chair of the charity Gas Safety Trust, which aims to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, shares the NEA’s concerns. “We know the tragic and fatal consequences of not being able to afford to service, repair or replace unsafe gas heating appliances, particularly for the most vulnerable in our society.

“It can put households or nearby neighbours at risk as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning or potentially, in extreme circumstances, cause fires or gas explosions,” Bielby warned.

The problem could inadvertently be exacerbated by the rollout of smart meters, which send readings direct to energy suppliers and are being offered to every home by the end of 2020, NEA said. Engineers fitting the meters are obliged to turn off unsafe gas appliances they find during their visits.

Industry is urging ministers to take action in the autumn budget to help address the lack of funding for vulnerable households to fix their boilers.

Mike Foster, the chief executive of the Energy and Utilities Alliance, which represents boiler manufacturers, said: “The upcoming budget must address this worrying gap in support.”

The interventions came after the energy regulator, Ofgem, warned last month that it was concerned some consumers were rationing their use of gas in response to higher energy prices.

Neverending run of bad news for some readers ?

A harse winter is forecast ... and many will suffer.

Anyone out there in power with some basic human emotions ?

Still , a few less scroungers on the State ?

A result some out there will celebrate ?
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