Energy firms beat social tariff goalsOctober 2009
Britain’s big six energy suppliers spent £157million on social programmes in 2008-09, a 175 per cent increase on 2007-08, according to a report by energy industry regulator Ofgem.
Social and other discounted tariffs for vulnerable and fuel-poor customers accounted for the highest proportion, with suppliers exceeding their collective spending targets for 2008-09 by £59m.
The regulator said the number of customer accounts on social tariffs had risen from 800,000 in October 2008 to a million in March 2009.
The companies announced plans to increase their spend on social programmes after the 2008 budget, partly as a result of pressure from the UK government, which urged them to put more of their record-breaking profits into community programmes.
At the budget, they announced a three-year commitment to increase their spending on social tariffs and other social programmes.
Ofgem’s report on the first year of the suppliers’ commitment reveals that each supplier met its target for 2008-09 and that jointly they exceeded the target of £151m by 2010-11.
The report also shows that vulnerable customers on social tariffs received £130m worth of discounts in 2008-09 and that all suppliers (with the exception of Eon) now have a social tariff that meets the new stricter definition set by Ofgem in July 2008.
The Consumer Focus pressure group welcomed the increases as ‘a step in the right direction’, but warned that funding was still inadequate ‘given that already high fuel poverty levels are set to spiral further as energy prices rise’.
Already a member? click here to login