Social tariffs ‘helping fuel poor’

People struggling to meet their energy bills have been helped by the largest six domestic fuel providers to the tune of £157 million in 2008-09, it has been revealed.

Industry regulator Ofgem said the figure was up from £57 million the previous year and was £59 million more than the spending target for the companies.

It also exceeded a joint commitment to provide £151 million by 2010-11.

Those benefiting were the fuel poor and vulnerable people, many of whom may have had debt management issues.

Some consumers struggling with the costs of household bills may find they can save money by changing loan or credit card providers.

Commenting on the news, Ofgem’s director of governance, consumer and social affairs Maxine Frerk described the figure as “a very encouraging outcome for the first year of the commitment”.

However, energy expert for campaign group Consumer Focus Zoe McLeod said the amount spent totals just 0.5 per cent of turnover for the firms.

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