Skip to main content

Fuel Poverty

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what estimate he has made of (a) the number of people benefiting from and (b) the average benefit received from each social tariff scheme operated by energy supply companies in the UK; (242497)

(2) with reference to the answer of 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 1144W, on energy supply: fuel poverty, when he expects Ofgem to publish its report on the social programmes undertaken by energy supply companies.

Ofgem published its first Review of Suppliers’ Voluntary Initiatives to Help Vulnerable Customers on 6 August 2007, which covered the period to July 2007. Ofgem updated this report in October 2007. Both reports can be found online at:

http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Sustainability/SocAction/Suppliers/CSR/Documents1/Review%20of%20suppliers%20voluntary%20mitiatives.pdf

http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Sustainability/SocAction//Suppliers/CSR/Documentsl/CSRupdate_open_letter_23507.pdf

The October update report shows that the number of gas and electricity customer accounts benefiting from each social tariff scheme and the average benefit received from each social tariff scheme was as follows:

As at 31 August 2007

Supplier

Tariff name

Customer accounts on tariff

Total savings (£ million)

Average saving per customer account (£)

British Gas

Essentials (Gas)

197,000

13.6

69

Essentials (Electricity)

83,000

1.9

22

Total

15.5

92

EDF Energy

Energy Assist (Gas)

14,825

l.3

87

Energy Assist (Electricity)

45,154

2.4

54

Total

3.7

140

Npower

First Step (Gas)

1,042

0.05

48

First step (Electricity)

1,415

0.11

75

Total

0.16

124

Powergen

Staywarm

10,373

4.4

424

Scottish Power

No social tariff currently offered

SSE

EnergyPlus (Gas)

4,983

0.57

115

EnergyPlus (Electricity)

7,538

0.54

71

Total

1.1

186

Ofgem is planning to publish an update to its October 2007 review before the end of the year. This will cover the period from 31 March 2007 to 1 April 2008,

Following the announcement in Budget 2008, energy suppliers agreed to increase the amount they spend on social programmes. This year they will be spending collectively £100 million, rising to £125 million in 2009-10 and £150 million in 2010-11. Suppliers have only provided forecast numbers for the first time for 2008, which show that around 600,000 customer accounts are expected to be on social tariffs this winter. The actual number of customer accounts on social tariffs during the first year of the voluntary agreement and the benefit per customer account will be published in Ofgem’s next reporting cycle in 2009.