Conservatives plan to offer energy discounts


Conservatives plan to offer energy discounts
The Conservative party is launching plans for low-income families unable to receive direct debit energy discounts to receive money off their gas and electricity bills.

The plans come after both Scottish & Southern Energy and E.On announced energy price hikes yesterday, following those made by British Gas and EDF.

Consumer watchdog energywatch estimates the price hikes will put some five million homes into fuel poverty – where ten per cent of income is spent on gas and electricity bills.

Annual average fuel bills are heading to £1,300, as energy providers pass on wholesale hikes to customers.

Under Conservative plans some four million people would be eligible for £100 discounts.

The plan is part of Post Office Card Account (POCA) reform so families without bank accounts will be able to use their POCA to pay utility bills using the equivalent of a direct debit.

Alan Duncan, shadow business minister, described the measure as "a significant weapon for attacking the growing pain of fuel poverty".

Responding to yesterday's price hikes, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said: "Millions of people will get a huge shock when they realise how much it will cost to heat their homes this winter. For the most vulnerable people the effect will be devastating.

"One by one, the major energy companies are lining up to clobber customers with enormous price rises."

He went on to accuse the government of allowing the energy giants to act as they please.

"It is unacceptable that on this government’s watch these companies have benefited from a £9 billion windfall, yet they continue to turn the screws on people who are already struggling with high prices.

"Energy companies should be compelled to put some of this money back into insulating the homes of their poorest customers."

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