The Government have a strong package of measures to help reduce fuel poverty among vulnerable households which includes pensioners. This is centred on tackling the three root causes of fuel poverty:
Reducing the demand for energy by improving home energy efficiency through schemes such as Warm Front, Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, Community Energy Saving programme and the Decent Homes Standard.
Between 2005 and the end of January 2010 Warm Front delivered energy efficiency measures to 2702 households in Hemsworth;
Putting in place and continuously looking to improve a regulatory framework that promotes competition as the main driver to ensure downward pressure on prices for consumers, and to improve licence conditions and strengthen Ofgem's powers through the Energy Bill; and
Raising real incomes, including through winter fuel payments and cold weather payments alongside the wider tax and benefit system and through benefit entitlement checks under the Warm Front scheme. Over 622 such checks have been undertaken in Hemsworth by Warm Front between 2005 and the end of November 2009, identifying an average weekly increase in income of £25.09 for those entitled to additional benefits.
We have also introduced legislation to implement mandated social price support schemes once the current voluntary agreement with suppliers comes to an end in 2011. These schemes will provide more of the most vulnerable consumers with help towards their energy costs. We have said that we are minded to focus the majority of the additional resources on older pensioner households on the lowest incomes as these households tend to have a high incidence of fuel poverty—over 50 per cent. of fuel poor households have a person over 60 living in them; their circumstances are relatively stable; and they are at the greatest risk of excess winter deaths.
Through our fuel poverty review we will continue to build and strengthen the evidence base on fuel poverty and explore better ways of targeting help at the most vulnerable fuel poor households.