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Energy Consumers

Volume 447: debated on Friday 16 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department is taking to assist vulnerable domestic energy customers. (78026)

The Department has taken a number of actions to help vulnerable domestic gas and electricity customers. We have liaised closely with energy suppliers on the development of the Home Heat Helpline, a one-stop service providing vulnerable customers and their representatives with the range of help and information available from suppliers and Government. We have worked with Energywatch and Ofgem to encourage customers to use the competitive market to get the best deal. We have successfully promoted the introduction of social tariffs and price freezes for fuel-poor and low-income customers.

DTI’s Design and Demonstration Unit, a team of private sector secondees that works in support of Energy White Paper objectives, has designed and delivered projects to provide gas connections to deprived communities, and is now developing community projects utilising renewable technologies.

DTI and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) share PSA targets in respect of fuel poverty. As part of the Energy Review, DTI is seeking to determine what further measures are needed to tackle fuel poverty.