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Energy companies call for UK government to count costs of mandatory energy efficiency schemes

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UK energy companies are asking the government to count up the cost of the mandatory energy efficiency schemes as the Cert and Cesp programmes have come to an end on 31st December.

The first of the ‘big six’ companies to achieve all of it’s government targets for both schemes is E.ON, subject to the figures being verified by Ofgem. SSE is also said to be confident that it has achieved it’s targets.

However, vulnerable customers in the ‘super-priority group’ have been missed as the companies are said to have failed to meet their sub-target to adequately identify those most in need of assistance.

E.ON UK chief, Tony Cocker said that the government should help to explain the costs of the  new Energy Company Obligation (Eco) scheme to customers, and work with the industry.

“At the end of the day it is our customers who fund this work through their bills so we have to prove we are targeting investment to help the right people in the most cost-effective way,” said Cocker.

“One of the most important things we have learned is those who could benefit the most, the priority or super priority groups, have often been the hardest people to find. We are now looking to replicate our success by creating long-term partnerships with councils under Eco, but to make this work well we need the support of the Government and all its agencies to encourage people to take up the help that is available.

“That also includes being open about the costs of these schemes. If customers know how much they are paying towards Eco then perhaps they will be more inclined to contact their supplier and see how they can help them.”

SSE said that the government should cap Eco costs and said that the scheme could cost £2.3 billion per year or even more, which is far greater than the £1.3 billion estimated costs from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

“We all recognise the urgent need to tackle fuel poverty, but the scheme risks becoming counter-productive if it puts disproportionate upward pressure on consumer bills,” said SSE deputy chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies. “That is why we are calling for a cap on Eco costs as a backstop measure so that customers will not be at the mercy of potentially escalating costs.”

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