Scottish Fuel Poverty Forum. 18 August 2008 Maxine Frerk. Ofgem’s Role. Protect consumers by promoting competition and regulating the energy network monopoly companies.
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Regulation: Energy Supply Markets Probe; licence obligations (advantage and disadvantages of PPMs, timely recalibration, ability to pay); complaint handling; facilitating gas network extensions; discretionary reward schemes for networks; smart metering and microgeneration.
Best practice / research: suppliers’ social spend; debt & disconnection; complaint handling; barriers to switching; Consumer Panel.
Influencing the debate: Energy Summit;Supplier Obligation; social tariffs; Europe; Sustainable Development Report.
Consumer information: Consumer First; switching campaigns; Energy Best Deal with CAB; work with switching sites.
Energy Summit on 23 April brought together Ministers, Government officials, energy suppliers and consumer organisations.
The outcome was a raft of commitments, set out in our Fuel Poverty Action Programme, to improve the targeting of existing help to those in fuel poverty and to help more vulnerable energy consumers participate more effectively in the energy market.
Tariff advice and referral pilot with eaga (Scotland not able to take part)
Data Sharing: Pensions Bill amendment
BERR funding roll out of CAB Energy Best Deal campaign
Better information and advice about available assistance
Better access to switching sites / switching information
Suppliers agreed with Government to increase their collective expenditure on their social programmes to £150m per annum by 2011 – an additional £225m over 2008-11.
Ofgem’s framework sets out what can be counted towards this spend commitment.
Includes stricter definition for social tariffs, so that they must be the lowest a supplier offers in that region.
Allows for innovation and flexibility in how suppliers achieve their spend targets: social & discounted tariffs; rebates; trust funds; partnerships; energy efficiency initiatives additional to CERT; and joint industry initiatives (ERA Home Heat Helpline, Winter mail-outs with DWP data).
Does not include suppliers’ PPM equalisation policies.