The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) proposed in October that it would form a price cap for preypayment meter (PPM) customers and have invited responses by 11 November.
The CMA said that “It is unacceptable that 4 million households on prepayment meters, many of them vulnerable, face higher bills than other energy customers” and this is why they hope to introduce the price cap.
On 11 November Fuel Poverty Action and supporters will deliver their response, contained in a tiny doll’s cap, to the CMA offices. Erika Lewis, Project Director, will meet us and receive it. For the full response, which is now gathering support from other organisations, see http://www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk/ (“No minor cap . . .”)
Fuel Poverty Action say:
The proposed cap still leaves the poorest energy customers paying over £200 more than their better off neighbours – a tax on poverty. Prepayment meter customers typically pay £300 more. This would reduce that figure by just £75. If the discrimination against prepayment customers is “unacceptable”, why is it being maintained?
Ruth London of Fuel Poverty Action comments, “Perhaps the CMA expect everyone to welcome this proposal. But their little cap will not end the massive rip-off of prepayment users, who are often even worse off than other hard pressed energy customers. Prepayment customers pay up front and should have parity with customers paying by direct debit. In fact they should be compensated for years of paying extra, years during which many have gone cold, and many have gone hungry in order to keep the meter fed.”
The response will also be sent to Theresa May and to Business Secretary Greg Clark, who at Tory party conference promised to “deal with this problem” of energy giants milking their customers. FPA will ask, “Will you really challenge the industry now, or will you bring in measures like the CMA’s cap, that sound good but, in practice, leave us in the cold?”
Fuel Poverty Action’s response will include, among other points:
• Even if, as the CMA claim, PPMs cost more to administer, their proposal would still allow suppliers to take in an extra £160 profit per year per PPM customer: discrimination that was banned under the companies’ license conditions in 2009.
• Prepayment meters are often forced on customers because of arrears, sometimes having their homes broken into to impose a PPM.
• Vulnerable customers are protected from having their power disconnected, at least in the winter and in many cases all year round. Yet PPM users are being disconnected all the time. When they cannot afford to top up, or are unable to get to a payment point, the power clicks off and they end up cold, in the dark, without refrigeration for food or medicines, and unable to charge their phones.
• PPMs are supposed to be a last resort to deal with arrears. But they are many firms’ preferred option – not surprising when they turn in such a profit.
• The CMA argue that setting the cap lower might not leave room for competition. After years of attempting and failing to make competition work in the domestic energy market, they are still more concerned about promoting competition than they are about people dying.
• The CMA calculate that in 2015 suppliers made £2 billion more profits than they would have if the market were working as it should, reflecting exploitation of people on prepayment meters or on credit meters with a standard variable tariff. That winter 15,000 people are estimated to have died because they could not afford to heat their homes.
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”
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