COMMONS

MPs take evidence on consumer engagement with energy markets

30 October 2012

On Tuesday 30 October, the Energy and Climate Change Committee will have the opportunity to question DECC and Ofgem about the consequences of the Prime Minister's recent announcement that the Government will legislate so that energy companies have to give their lowest tariff to their consumers, and in particular the impact of this on Ofgem's Retail Market Review

This will be the Committee's final public evidence session on its Consumer Engagement with Energy Markets inquiry and will address all the issues set out in the terms of reference (below). The session will commence at 9.30 am, in the Grimond room, Portcullis House.

Witnesses

Tuesday 30 October:

9.30 am Panel 1

  • Sarah Harrison, Senior Partner for Sustainable Development, and Andrew Wright, Senior Partner for Markets, Ofgem

10.30 am Panel 2

  • Rt Hon Gregory Barker MP, Minister of State, and Rachel Crisp, Head of Demand Reduction and Retail Energy Markets, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) 

Terms of reference

Terms of reference for the inquiry:

  • How "energy literate" are consumers in the UK? For example, are most consumers aware of how much their bills vary according to usage? Are terms such as "kWh" understood by most consumers? 
  • To what extent are consumers aware of the different components that make up their energy bills and the relative contribution of each aspect? (e.g. wholesale costs, transmission and distribution charges, environmental/social policies and VAT)
  • To what extent are consumers aware of the future projected levels of energy prices and bills and the drivers behind this?
  • What are the barriers to consumers switching energy provider? Will Ofgem's proposed Retail Market Reform measures encourage behaviour change amongst consumers or are further actions necessary?
  • Will Ofgem's proposals (including on standard tariffs and greater transparency of information published by energy companies) help to increase public trust in energy companies?
  • To what extent are consumers aware of policies such as the Green Deal, smart meter roll out and Ofgem's Retail Market Reform that could affect the way they use energy in their homes and their engagement in the market? And what are their perceptions of the schemes?
  • What are the potential implications of a lack of consumer awareness in these areas?
  • Is greater consumer education needed and if so, who should take responsibility for this, who should deliver it and how should it be delivered?
  • What impact does the media have on public perceptions of energy bills?
  • What are the pros and cons of using levies on bills rather than general taxation to pay for environmental and social policies?

Further Information

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