Give councils fuel poverty role, says Citizens Advice

29 May 15

Responsibility for fuel poverty should be devolved to councils, who could better coordinate existing schemes, Citizens Advice has suggested.

The recommendation comes as figures released today by the Department for Energy and Climate Change reveal the number of households in fuel poverty in England in 2013 was estimated at 2.35 million.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said the figures were ‘a brutal reminder of the scale of fuel poverty’.

She added: ‘Millions of people can’t afford to keep their heating and lights on and this has a devastating impact.

‘This is the crucial time to make sure the market is working for all consumers and that those who are struggling are getting the necessary support.’

In a report published today, Citizens Advice highlights that nearly £1bn a year is currently taken out of energy consumers’ bills to pay for energy efficiency measures such as the Energy Companies Obligation, the Green Deal and the carbon reduction commitment.

However, it concluded that leaving the delivery of these schemes, which are intended to tackle improve energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty, to energy suppliers themselves minimized the effectiveness of the programmes. Councils, with a better understand the housing in their area and of residents' circumstances, could better focus action on those who need it, the Closer to home report stated.

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