Local Authorities Best Placed to Help Fuel Poor with Funding from Ofgem Fines

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Local Authorities Best Placed to Help Fuel Poor with Funding from Ofgem Fines

Post by ALEO Admin » Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:49 pm

On 26 April, Ofgem announced that Scottish Power would be fined £18 million pounds for “failing to treat its customers fairly, with inadequate call handling, complaint resolution and billing” during the implementation of a new IT system.

This follows other recent fines by Ofgem, such as the £26 million fine imposed on Npower in December and the £3 million fine imposed on National Grid, announced in March.

News reports suggest that the £18 million will go to “vulnerable customers and charity”.

The local authority members of the Association of Local Energy Officers (ALEO) are best placed to support vulnerable customers in their areas. They are aware of local fuel poverty issues, can identify the most at-risk households, such as those of elderly and disabled customers, and can help to support energy improvements in customs’ homes, resulting in reducing fuel costs and improved thermal comfort.

These fines should be utilised to support these high-risk residents with the help and support of local authorities. Local authority energy officers provide a trusted source of advice, are unbiased, and often have links in place with contractors and installers to undertake works at reasonable prices.

In particular, those living in pre-1919 dwellings or park homes are at a high risk of vulnerability, and funds to help support these residents would be most welcome. As a fabric measure, external wall insulation makes a huge difference to these properties, but residents often cannot afford the full cost of these expensive works. Any contributions to help support these types of residents would be particularly beneficial.

Local authorities have been blocked from bidding for redress funding from previous fines, while the fined energy companies are able to influence decisions as to how the money is used. ALEO strongly believes that local authorities should be given the opportunity to bid for these funds, as they are best placed to assist the most vulnerable fuel poor customers.

To illustrate an example of local authority work, the Seasonal Health Interventions Network (SHINE) programme managed by the ALEO National Chair, John Kolm-Murray, for Islington Council has assisted 11,000 households since December 2010 and saved them almost £4 million. SHINE reached these clients through a partnership of over 90 organisations working in the borough. Aside from energy advice and fabric improvements (in part through a targeted Warmth on Prescription programme) SHINE also work on fuel debt relief assistance and link up to over 20 non-energy interventions such as benefit checks, falls assessments and befriending services. It is very much in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance on excess winter deaths, published last year.

Whilst SHINE has support to continue with its work, many other good schemes run by councils are in a perilous position and ALEO would not wish to see them excluded from support.

A PDF versions of this press release can be downloaded below.

For more information on the Scottish Power fine see:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36137005
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ALEO Press Release - Local authorities best placed to help fuel poor with funding from Ofgem fines.pdf
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UPDATE: Ofgem to consult on allocation of voluntary redress payments in the context of enforcement cases

Post by ALEO Admin » Thu May 05, 2016 3:52 pm

Update: On 5 May 2016, Ofgem announced that it intends to publish a consultation on voluntary redress payments to suitable charities, trusts and organisations in the context of Enforcement investigations.

The consultation is expected to be published in June 2016.

See: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-a ... ment-cases

ALEO Admin
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UPDATE: Ofgem decision published

Post by ALEO Admin » Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:22 pm

Ofgem published its decision on this consultation on 30 November 2016, stating that it intends to procure an independent third party organisation to manage and allocate these funds. Ofgem intends to make an announcement on the result of this process in summer 2017.

Ofgem's response document also says that:
"Several responses were from local authorities. They expressed the view that they should be
allowed to apply for funding as they are well placed and experienced in delivering energy
schemes that benefit consumers in vulnerable circumstances. We’ll consider this when we
design the future redress allocation process."

For Ofgem's full response, see:
https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-a ... ment-cases

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