UK government pledges “better deal” for energy customers

Posted at September 24, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on UK government pledges “better deal” for energy customers

UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey has unveiled a raft of measures aimed at ensuring a “better deal” for energy customers.

Under the proposals, there will be new powers for energy market regulator Ofgem allowing it to require that energy companies in breach of their licence conditions compensate customers directly who have lost out.

There is also new pressure to make it easier for consumers to switch to get a better deal on their gas and electricity tariffs.

The latest proposals would help individuals club together to get a better deal on their energy costs. The first such ‘collective purchasing and switching’ initiative has just kicked off in Cornwall, but the government believes it could provide an effective means for tackling fuel poverty.

Davey announced a £5 million competition for the most innovative local authority or third sector schemes to get collective purchasing and switching off the ground.

And in a further bid to encourage customers to shop around for the best deal, the government and Ofgem are working on improving bills to provide quick and clear information on the cheapest tariffs.

Meanwhile, Ofgem has promised that energy companies will face fines if they do not meet their targets under the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) and Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) by the end of December this year.

Under the schemes, energy companies are required to assist their most vulnerable customers with energy efficiency measures like improved insulation and meet specific emissions reduction targets.

According to an open letter sent to energy companies, Ofgem says it takes compliance with these obligations “very seriously” and will take “proportionate enforcement action” against any who fail to meet their obligations.

Davey welcomed Ofgem’s move, commenting in a statement:
“I am pleased to see that the regulator is holding energy suppliers’ feet to the fire on delivering against the targets for CERT and CESP. The approach Ofgem has outlined today is good news for households that could benefit from free or discounted insulation measures and good news for the insulation industry.”

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Related stories:
UK climate change policies will protect against rising prices, says Davey (21-May)
UK government urges consumers to switch supplier to save money (18-Oct 2011)
UK regulator Ofgem promises reform as energy suppliers’ net margins rise 733% (14-Oct 2011)

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