Press Notice PN 32

 TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMITTEE

COMMITTEE OFFICE     HOUSE OF COMMONS    7 MILLBANK     LONDON SW1P 3JA

Telephone: 020 7219 5777/5779

NEW INQUIRY

FUEL DISCONNECTIONS

The Trade and Industry Committee today announced its intention to conduct a short inquiry into the incidence of fuel disconnections, and the measures taken by Ofgem and the fuel suppliers to protect the most vulnerable customers.

There has been rising concern about the problems faced by customers who are unable, rather than unwilling, to pay their fuel bills, with attention focussing on cases such as that of a pensioner couple who died in their home after their gas supply was cut off for non-payment.

The industry Regulator, Ofgem, and the organization that represents fuel consumers, energywatch, have over the past two years produced a number of recommendations and guidelines to energy suppliers on reducing and preventing debt and disconnection. On 26 April 2004 the Regulator, Ofgem, published industry proposals on how to protect vulnerable energy consumers from having their gas or electricity cut off.

The Committee will examine the extent of the problem of disconnection, the actions taken by energy suppliers to date, and whether the industry's recent proposals are adequate and appropriate. 

The Committee will take oral evidence from energywatch and other interested parties on Tuesday 22 June.  However, the Committee would welcome written evidence on the issues outlined above from anyone else who wishes to comment.  The closing date for written evidence will be Friday 18 June.

If possible, written evidence should take the form of a memorandum with numbered paragraphs and should be submitted, as a MS Word document, by e-mail to [email protected] with a single hard copy sent to the Clerk at the address above.

For further information please contact the Committee Office on 020 7219 5777/ 5779.

8 June  2004

ENDS