“The coalition intends to tackle the underlying causes of fuel poverty by improving the energy efficiency of homes through our new Green Deal and by requiring energy companies, through the Warm Home Discount scheme, to provide financial support with fuel bills to more of the most vulnerable households.”
Immediate help this winter
- The Winter Fuel Payment remains at the higher rate of £250 for households with someone aged up to 79 years old and £400 for households with someone aged 80 or over.
- Cold Weather Payments of £25 per week are handed out to pensioners on Pension Credit, families with children under five on income-related benefit and disabled adults and children when the temperature drops to a certain level. So far, this winter, over nine million households will receive this payment.
- Energy suppliers are obliged under CERT – Carbon Emissions Reduction Target - to help the most vulnerable households install energy efficiency measures. The coalition has already taken steps to ensure this work is better targeted.
New help with energy bills from 2011 through Warm Home Discount
From April next year, energy companies will be required by law to give a discount on energy bills to more of their most vulnerable customers. This is the new Warm Home Discount which replaces the old voluntary agreement with suppliers to provide help to vulnerable consumers. Over the four years of the scheme to 2015, the Warm Home Discount will be worth up to £1.1 billion and projected to help around 2 million households per year. On 2nd December, the government launched a consultation focusing on the detailed structure of the support scheme, including who should be eligible for assistance and how they will be targeted.
Changes to Warm Front for 2011/12
Warm Front will start taking new applications again next year but because the government is having to make savings across the board, it will be a smaller, much more focused scheme – totalling £210 million from 2011-2013. Today a consultation is launched on how exactly to target Warm Front better to ensure more of the help available reaches those who need it most.
Tackling the underlying causes of fuel poverty through the Green Deal from 2012
The coalition is committed to a new approach to insulate the country’s homes. This requires a comprehensive approach to energy efficiency – the Green Deal. The legislation was introduced to Parliament last week.
Through the Green Deal, many people will be able to pay back the upfront costs of home insulation work through the lower bills that will result. The coalition recognises that extra help is needed to provide more of the most vulnerable and fuel poor households with the basic heating and insulation measures needed to keep homes warm at a more affordable cost. Therefore, energy companies will be required, under the new Energy Company Obligation (ECO), to help poorer customers and those in hard to treat homes, and to provide basic heating and insulation to the poorest and most vulnerable households. ECO, which will replace CERT and CESP (Community Energy Savings Programme) when the Green Deal becomes available, will focus on insulation and improving heating systems – measures which help people manage their bills for the long term.