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Volume 496: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department is taking to encourage the development of products and services designed to meet the energy needs of older people. (284644)

The Department has negotiated a voluntary agreement with energy companies under which they will contribute £125 million this year and £150 million in 2010-11 to measures designed to address the energy needs of vulnerable consumers including the elderly.

Energy companies must meet at least 40 per cent. of their carbon emissions reduction target obligations in a priority group of low-income consumers who are in receipt of benefits or are aged 70 and over. The DECC funded warm front scheme offers energy efficiency measures to householders, including those over 60, in receipt of qualifying benefits. In addition, the Department is developing its approach to the roll-out of smart metering, which will take into account its impact on the elderly.