Funding for poorer households may be cut, the government confirms

In hope to bring down the total cost of fuel bills, the Government is looking to cut the financial support that poorer households are receiving for energy efficiency.

Cabinet minsters are keen to help consumers with their fuel bills as the government’s adviser for fuel poverty said that to solely target the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) would be unfair. George Osborne wishes to cut the ECO, which costs bill payers around £1.3 billion a year and will total to 4% of an average annual bill.

Around half of the ECO funding is directed to those who receive welfare benefits, which include pensioners and the disabled, getting rid of it will mean thousands of homes are without energy efficiency measures.

SSE and Centrica have warned that the ECO could possibly add a further £100 each year to bills due to the cost of finding houses that are eligible. Derek Lickorish from the Fuel Poverty Advisory explained that the danger of cutting ECO is unfair as this is “the only measure that is doing something for the fuel poor in England. It is unforgiveable when we have energy prices that are going only in one direction.”

Jenny Saunders, the chief executive at National Energy Action says, “the main reason our energy bills are so high is because we have some of the most energy-inefficient housing stock in Europe. ECO is the one policy that is helping cut fuel bills now…it is vital we use ECO funds to improve heating and insulation for our poorest citizens.” (The Guardian 2013)

Energy Switcheroo offer an easy switching service that will ensure that poorer households will keep on top of their annual bills and get the best tariff.