Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Critics attack fuel bill cap

Plans to cap charges on fuel bills risk undermining the government’s flagship green deal programme of energy efficiency improvements.

Campaigners and civil servants are concerned that a new cap on the amount of money energy companies can charge customers on their bills will prevent them from fulfilling their obligations to tackle fuel poverty and hard-to-treat homes.

They worry that a new energy company obligation, announced in last month’s Budget and due to launch in 2012, will fall within the cap and leave the programme underfunded. The ECO is expected to underpin the green deal programme of private sector loans for energy efficiency improvements by ensuring the costs of making the improvements do not outweigh the savings.

Darren Shirley, campaigns manager for sustainable homes at WWF-UK, said: ‘The ECO is quite key to making the green deal viable, meeting carbon reduction targets and fighting fuel poverty. Without enough money coming into it, we are going to be pushed to meet those targets and to make the deal work at all.’

A spokesperson for Department for Energy and Climate Change said the design of ECO was yet to be finalised, and the Office for National Statistics has not yet decided whether it will fall within the cap.

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