Ministers attend fuel poverty talks

Government ministers and EU and industry representatives have attended a summit designed to lift consumers out of energy poverty.

A range of measures were agreed at the meeting, which was chaired by regulator Ofgem.

A commitment to pinpoint help upon people who genuinely need it was finalised, as was an agreement from suppliers to provide clearer information.

Ofgem chairman Sir John Mogg said it intended the summit to have the “highest impact” on resolving fuel poverty, which is defined as a household spending one-tenth of its income on energy.

“Low incomes and poor housing are chief causes of fuel poverty and for government to address,” he said.

“The focus of this summit has been to channel existing resources to the best possible use and, as such, is a sound demonstration the regulator’s role.”

Energy minister Malcolm Wicks was one of seven ministers in attendance today, a fact the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform said illustrated the seriousness of the issue.

A spokeswoman said the department was satisfied with the outcomes of the summit but admitted the government “had to do more” to meet its target of removing the most vulnerable consumers in England out of fuel poverty by 2010.

Citizens Advice, commenting on the summit, said it ‘warmly welcomed’ today’s developments.

Its director of public policy Teresa Perchard said: “The summit is a very welcome commitment from the fuel industry, government and regulators to do more to tackle the growing and pernicious problem of fuel poverty and we stand ready to help ensure that vulnerable customers and those on low incomes have every opportunity to reduce their bills and receive the help they are entitled to.”