On 8th September 2014, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received answers to two written questions on energy prices and supermarket competition.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to encouraging energy companies to use income-differentiated tariffs as a means of addressing fuel poverty.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): Energy suppliers provide direct bill support for low income households through the Government’s Warm Home Discount scheme. As the original impact assessment for the scheme made clear, the scheme grew in part out of a concern about affordability of energy bills and accessibility of appropriate tariffs for those on low incomes. The scheme is now hugely successful. This year the Warm Home Discount will give eligible low-income bill payers £140 money off their energy bills, helping over 2 million people including 1.4 million of Britain’s most vulnerable pensioners.
There has been consideration of the role of differentiated tariffs as part of the Hills Review of Fuel Poverty, and in the development of Fuel Poverty: Framework for future action and cutting the cost of keeping warm, the consultation to prepare for a new fuel poverty strategy.
We continue to monitor the impacts of Ofgem’s Retail Market Review and wider Government action to ensure that consumers are treated fairly in the energy market and are better able to choose a deal that suits them. We expect to keep the case for further action under review as part of this.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to lay before Parliament the statutory instrument recommended by the Groceries Code Adjudicator to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on the maximum level of fine that can be applied for a breach of the Code; and if so, when.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe): The Government intends to bring legislation before Parliament this autumn to set the maximum level of fine that the Groceries Code Adjudicator may impose in respect of breaches of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice.