A raft of new government measures to help vulnerable UK consumers, especially th ...

A raft of new government measures to help vulnerable UK consumers, especially the elderly, make their homes warmer and more energy efficient were recently unveiled. Measures that are designed to help with bills and ensure consumers are on the best value tariff include: * Seek changes in the law to allow data-sharing with energy suppliers. * A pilot scheme to ensure people applying for ‘Warm Front’ grants are referred to their energy supplier for tariff advice so that they can make maximum savings. The pilot will be trialled by 3,000 households. * Some £150,000 will be made available to fund a roll out of Ofgem’s national Citizens Advice Bureau awareness campaign on social assistance for the vulnerable. Measures to help improve energy efficiency in the long term, which can cut bills, include: * Some £3mn to be made available as part of a pilot project within the low carbon buildings programme (LCBP) to introduce fuel saving microgeneration to fuel poor communities. * Publication of the results of the Heat Strategy call for evidence. The call for evidence will help the government develop a heat strategy and measures to reduce demand for heat. This will help reduce heating bills in fuel poor communities. There will be a formal consultation on the Heat Strategy in Autumn. The initiatives come after Ofgem’s Fuel Poverty Summit earlier this year, where attendees called for better energy efficiency in homes and advances in data sharing. The government measures aim to assist poorer consumers to cut bills for the long term, by improving energy efficiency and helping those who need the help most to be easily identified. Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said: ‘We've got a commitment from the energy companies now to provide an extra £225mn in social assistance by increasing their investment to £150mn/y by 2011. Now we're working on finding ways to get them the right information to enable them to get that money to those who need it the most.’

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