Provisional welcome for energy bill

A new government bill aimed at tackling fuel poverty has been welcomed with reservations by a consumer pressure group.

Commenting on the first reading of the Energy Bill, energy expert at Consumer Focus Jonathan Stearn said the ideas to make help compulsory for those in fuel poverty and expand the powers of regulator Ofgem are good news.

However, he argued, the proposals do not go far enough, remarking: “These plans must ensure that the millions of vulnerable pensioners, families and disabled people living in fuel poverty get the cheapest deal possible.”

Those with debt management issues may be helped by such measures, but these can only come in after the parliamentary process has been completed, meaning the best move may be to seek other solutions.

The bill is being sponsored by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and was announced in the Queen’s Speech this week.

However, as a general election has to be held by next June, the bill may not be passed before parliament has to be dissolved.

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