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ACE joins call on Chancellor for emergency fuel poverty funding

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    Jon Lewes

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    “ACE has today joined other charities, fuel poverty groups and industry in calling on the Chancellor to take immediate action by announcing additional ‘emergency’ funding for heating and insulation measures”
    The ACE campaign for fuel funding is an excellent concept..
    More funding, yes…but perhaps not a overall good initiative right now when existing funding isn’t getting through to those who need it..
    .. will the new funding ever get to those householders who have been encouraged to switch to a smaller supplier ie. not one of the Big Six..If the existing funding, the Warm Home Discount, is a good example, many householders will never receive a penny of the funding if it is channeled to them through their energy utility..
    ..the Warm Home Discount, worth some £140 to eligible households, is “not available to small suppliers’ customers”. Small here means less than 250,00 customers (the Big Six each have some 5m customers).. the government’s Warm Home Discount Team told one householder on the phone that he “had sacrificed any claim to the £140 discount ” by switching to a smaller supplier..
    One of those small supplers, Good Energy, says that “Unfortunately there is very little we can do. The way the Government has implemented the Warm Homes Discount scheme means that suppliers need to build complex IT systems to interface with the Governments benefits system to check customer’s eligibility to the discount (i.e. they are in receipt of particular benefits). As a result, there is a very high fixed cost to support the scheme, which the Government solved by granting smaller suppliers an exemption from participating rather than dealing with the high cost of participation. Obviously this is not ideal from anyone’s perspective, but we have to work in the frame work the Government designs. As far as we are aware there are no plans to change the way it is dealt with”.
    Here at the Home Energy Centre in Ilminster , as an independent community-based provider of information about energy-efficiency and renewable energy, we now have visiting us many of the householders that we have encouraged over the last year to switch to smaller suppliers so as to benefit from improved customer service as well as more transparency over tariff..now they are feeling distinctly disgruntled, as they are £140 out of pocket from their switch, and a sum they were relying on to get through the winter..so we are now encouraging them to contact their MP, who will in turn present the details of this bizarre situation to the Secretary of State for Energy, Ed Davey..

    Is ACE aware that responding to the much-encouraged switching to a smaller energy supplier is likely to be a costly move for some of the most vulnerable householders ??

    Jon Lewes
    Coordinator
    localGen Home Energy Centre
    Ilminster, South Somerset

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    Mike Crompton

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    The goverment – via Ofgen has just fined the energy producers £20M for failing to meet their targets. This could be used to improve energy effiency measures rather than disappear into the Treasury black hole

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