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Published on 21 March 2011 11:00 AM

Responding to media reports today that the energy regulator Ofgem has told energy firms that they must offer simpler tariffs to help consumers compare prices, Age Cymru’s Director of Influencing and Programme Development Victoria Lloyd says:

"We welcome action that will make it easier for people to ensure they are getting the best energy deal possible.

“Being able to keep our homes warm is important for our comfort and health, particularly for older people who can be more susceptible to the cold.

“Fuel poverty – which is where a household spends 10 per cent or more of its income on heating, is on the increase in Wales and it affects an estimated 320,000 homes.

“Fuel poverty is a significant contributor to excess winter deaths. 

“On average there are 1,500 excess winter deaths among over 50s every winter in Wales so energy prices and access to affordable energy are vital in attempts to combat this issue.

“Age Cymru is very concerned that price tariffs are complicated and that the payment methods favoured by many in fuel poverty – such as pre-payments meters often come with a price premium.

“Even where social tariffs that help to protect the vulnerable from fuel poverty, are available, the consumers who are eligible for these tariffs are not often aware of their existence.

“Energy companies must do more to ensure that consumers pay a fair price for energy and to help people at risk of fuel poverty identify the cheapest tariff for them. 

“We welcome the steps being taken by Ofgem to try to ensure that energy pricing is transparent and that companies are not making excessive profits from the bills of vulnerable customers.”

For more information: Call Age Cymru Advice: 08000 223 444