24 May 2012
Energy affordability ( 63kb)
Ofgem is right to recognise that energy affordability is of significant concern to consumers at a time when many peoples’ incomes are stagnating, or even falling, and energy prices are rising. Although recent figures show a modest reduction in the number of households in fuel poverty DECC Annual report on fuel poverty statistics 2012 , these figures do not factor in the most recent round of price rises and Government cuts and the announcement by Centrica that bills are likely to rise again this year Guardian online edition 11 May 2012 We therefore believe that this is a situation that is likely to deteriorate rather than improve.
In this context it is vital that Ofgem does all that it can to ensure that the market is competitive and accessible for all consumers and that consumers are protected from bad practice. This is particularly important in the case of vulnerable consumers who are often unable to engage effectively in the market to secure the best deal and struggle to access support and redress when things go wrong. We recognise the work that Ofgem has undertaken as part of its Social Action Strategy since 2005 but a lot more work remains to be done. We therefore welcome Ofgem’s ongoing commitment to improving the experience of vulnerable consumers and this review of the vulnerable consumers’ strategy.