Europe's energy companies should tackle fuel poverty

07 June 2016

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP and Paul Brannen MEP will vote for a report calling on energy companies to pass on falling wholesale prices to North East’s consumers.

The report, 'A New Deal for Energy Consumers', authored by a Labour MEP, calls for the end of termination fees when switching to cheaper suppliers, simplified energy bills that contain consumer-empowering information and guidelines to ensure suppliers notify customers when cheaper tariffs exist.

It also calls for EU funds to renovate the homes of those living in energy-inefficient homes, and, alongside these renovation funds, outlines targets to reduce the number of energy-inefficient homes by 2030 and urges the European Commission to prioritise energy poor citizens in energy legislation.

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, said:

"In the North East a shocking 135,000 households live in energy poverty - that's 12% of all households. That is why Labour MEPs are calling for measures to protect citizens from unfair energy practices and tackle rising levels of energy poverty, and that is why the European Parliament is expected to back this report.

"Many people are being kept on outdated energy contracts, also known as sleeping contracts, which often require large termination fees when switching to a cheaper supplier. This is the equivalent of paying for dialup internet when you can buy broadband for half the price and twice the speed. What's even worse is that energy suppliers are paying less for wholesale energy and are not passing on savings to consumers - it is unacceptable.

"We are calling for the end of termination fees so consumers can switch to a cheaper supplier without cost. We want straight-forward bills that contain consumer empowering information - including a peer-based comparison of your energy usage. Your bill should highlight how much energy you use compared to your neighbour so you know when you are getting a raw deal."

Paul Brannen MEP added:

"We want energy regulators to work with energy suppliers and price comparison organisations to deliver information direct to consumers. This approach goes further than your average online price comparison tool - we want to end outdated contracts and notify customers when they are paying more than they should for energy.

"I want to make this clear - nobody in the North East in the year 2016, should choose between cooking a warm meal or heating their home."

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