On 28th January 2016 Baroness Donaghy asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their estimate of the number of households currently in fuel poverty; and what action they intend to take to reduce that number over the next five years.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, one concern is prepaid meters, which are an expensive way of paying for fuel. Will the Minister update the House on what progress is being made to promote the five principles agreed between Consumer Focus and the largest energy groups some years ago—I think it was back in 2011? Furthermore, will Her Majesty’s Government ask the large energy companies to reconsider income-differentiated tariffs again?
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: My Lords, the right reverend Prelate is right in relation to prepayment meters—they are a concern. He will know that the advent of smart meters is beginning to see an end to prepayment meters. Several energy companies have announced that they will be phased out because, for the first time ever, we will have accurate billing for all households by 2020. We very much hope that they will be a thing of the past, and I am sure that the whole House will welcome that.