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Liberal Democrat News 21st October 2011

October 21, 2011 11:44 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Cameron and Huhne's Energy Summit

Escalating energy prices are the biggest contributors to the latest rise in inflation. This week, in a move to ease the pressure on consumers, Prime Minister David Cameron and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne convened a summit meeting with leaders of the six largest energy producing companies.

Policy developments aimed at keeping household energy bills down were discussed and agreement, involving consumer groups and the industry regulator Ofgem as well as the Government and the energy suppliers, was reached on a wide range of measures to help consumers save money on their gas and electricity bills.

There would be clear and transparent communications to the consumer on their energy issues, including shared website and campaign material giving consumer advice on energy saving and the cheapest tariffs. Suppliers would also write urgently to eight million quarterly credit customers telling them how they can save money by changing their payment method. Energy bills will also make it much clearer how cheaper tariffs may be applied to their bills`and suppliers will look at improving ways in which customers can compare their gas and electricity consumption.
From December four million of the most vulnerable energy customers in Great Britain will receive letters telling them they are eligible for free or heavily discounted insulation in their lofts or cavity walls.

There is no immediate prospect of overall price reductions but there is an agreed aim to encourage more consumers to switch suppliers on the basis of better deals. At present Ofgem reports that last year only 15 per cent of gas customers and 17 per cent of electricy customers made a switch.

After the meeting the Prime Minister, David Cameron, commented "We are making energy companies be competitive. They're permanently being watched by Ofgem to make sure it is a competitive market, and we are making them make their energy available so that others can come in and provide customers with a good service. So this is about the Government, about the Citizens Advice Bureau, about other organisations, all working together to help people to keep their energy bills down."

Chris Huhne was pleased with the meeting but is not optimistic about future energy price levels. "If you were to ask me what is going to happen to world fossil fuel prices then the Government's prediction - and virtually everyone else's - is that in the medium run those prices are going to go up."

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