MP questions Energy Minster about fuel bill hikes

February 4, 2008 5:38 PM
Energy

Mark questions Energy Minister about price of energy

In an evidence session before the Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Select Committee (formerly Trade and Industry) Cheadle MP Mark Hunter challenged Malcolm Wicks, the Energy Minister, on rising fuel prices, and the difficulty many people have in managing their gas and electricity Bills.

The Minister was appearing before the Committee to answer questions on "Energy prices and recent developments in energy policy to address the energy gap" - a one off evidence session.

In a series of detailed questions, the Cheadle MP put to the Minister the concerns of many residents about rising fuel prices and the massive profits being made by the energy suppliers themselves. In particular Mr Hunter pointed out that suppliers are very quick to pass on the price rises when whole prices go up, but not so quick in passing on to the customer price reductions as and when they occur. He also emphasised the particular problems of people on fixed incomes - especially pensioners - who struggle to meet ever-increasing price hikes. The Minister accepted that the number of people in England classed as being in fuel poverty has increased from 1.5 million to 2.4 million in recent years.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Hunter said: "Whilst the Minister - as expected - gave a stout defence of government policy, I remain unconvinced enough is being done to help those in fuel poverty, and to curb excessive price increase which are a burden for all customers. There will be many pensioners across the Cheadle constituency and elsewhere who will struggle to meet the costs of constantly rising prices unless the government take decisive action."

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