Seniors want to know when they will be offered lowest energy tariffs

PUBLISHED: 10:38 29 October 2012


Letter sent to MP following Commons’ debate on energy market reform.

When will consumers be offered the lowest tariffs for gas and electricity?

That is the question Honiton Senior Voice has posed to local MP Neil Parish.

Mr Parish last week spoke during a Commons’ debate on energy market reform and said green policies were bound to push up prices.

He told the House that he supported comments made by North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson “about the tariffs, the need for competition and the need for people to understand those tariffs”.

He said: “The only way the market will work is by ensuring that there is proper competition and that people are able to switch easily from one company to another, without those companies having tied the consumer in.

“The policies of successive Governments, both the Labour Government and this coalition Government, are driving up the price of energy.

“There must be competition between the companies to keep the overall level down, but, in the end, consumers will pay more for their gas and electricity.

“Our green policies are good, but they cost money and they will cost the consumer money.

“We must be realistic about how we deal with that. I have every sympathy for the fuel poor but the addition of a green tariff is bound to push up energy prices. We need greater competition and we must look after the poorest in society.”

Mr Parish went on to pose questions about the cost of heating oil and the dominance of one company in the market.

“Those who can access pipeline gas to heat their homes, however much the price might have gone up, are actually, dare I say it, the most fortunate, because those who have oil heating are paying even more,” he said.

“Not only are they paying £1,400 for 2,000 litres of oil, which it does not take the average household long to get through, but they might live in a house that is listed or has traditional windows, which they cannot replace with double glazing, or solid walls, which are very difficult to insulate.”

Mr Parish added: “I congratulate the Minister on the money he has put forward to help insulate such properties in rural areas, but I do not believe it is enough. The whole idea is that the green deal is essential because energy prices will continue to rise, but the trouble is that many of my constituents cannot necessarily get the green deal because the figures do not work with the cost of insulating solid walls, for example. Ultimately, those consumers in my constituency and across the country will end up paying more for the insulation than they will save on their energy bills, and that is something we need to deal with.”

Honiton Senior voice has told Mr Parish in a letter: “The concerns expressed by the Prime Minister and yourself about fuel bills appear to be having little effect.

“We are not aware that consumers are being offered genuine competition or the lowest tariff. Quite the reverse - EDF have now joined the scramble to raise prices by a whopping 11 per cent which the Prime Minister says is ‘very disappointing’.

“Prices will add £130 to fuel bills, a rise of 156 per cent since 2004.

“Ofgem admits the fuel discount scheme has only helped less than one in four of those suffering fuel poverty and the Warm Front Scheme runs out this week.

“What is to happen to pensioners and others in fuel poverty when 65 a day die from cold related illnesses?.

“Why is Ofgem not regulating these ‘coincidental’ price rises? When will we be offered the lowest market price as per the Prime Minister’s promise?”

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