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Energy consumption charge proposals 'unfair on low-income households'

21/01/2011

Charges on energy use will be hard on poorer people, one expert has said.

People already worried about gas and electricity prices could be hit hard by proposals to ration energy use in the UK.

This is the opinion of director of communications at National Energy Action Maria Wardrobe, who explained many low-income individuals limit their consumption of fuel anyway.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and the Lean Economy Connection recommended that Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs) be adopted in Britain.

Under this system, adults would be given free credits to spend on fuel, which can be sold by households with a surplus and bought by those who do not have enough.

Ms Wardrobe argued low-income people may already be using too little energy to keep themselves warm and, if the plans were to go ahead, could be tempted to sell their credits to raise cash, risking their health.

"It does not [seem] fair or equitable to adopt TEQs given that fuel-poor households may not have the opportunity of improving the energy efficiency of their home in the way that non fuel-poor households can," she stated.

Additionally, the system would not be fair on those with disabilities who may need to use more energy due to their condition but would be penalised for this when they may already be short on cash.

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