The folowing Acts of Parliament have had some bearing on tackling fuel poverty over the last 10 years.
The Scotland Act devolves additional powers to the Scottish Parliament. Some welfare payments will be devolved such as the Regulated Social Fund which includes Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments. In addition some powers over energy, such as how the Energy Company Obligation and Warm Home Discount are designed and implemented in Scotland, will be devolved. Responsibility for setting the overall obligation for these will remain reserved.
The Energy Act 2013
The Act included measures on Consumer Protection:
- a limit was set on the number of energy tariffs offered to domestic consumers; requiring the automatic move of customers from poor value closed tariffs to cheaper deals; requiring the provision of information by suppliers to consumers on the best alternative deals available to them from them;
- allowed Ofgem to extend its licence regime to third-party intermediaries, such as switching websites;
- provided a new enforcement power for Ofgem to require energy businesses that breached gas or electricity licence conditions, or other relevant regulatory requirements, to provide redress to consumers who suffer detriment as a result of the breach;
- amended the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act [England & Wales] to propose a new target for fuel poverty that would be set through secondary legislation.
The full text of the Energy Act 2013 can be read here
The Energy Act 2011
The main energy efficiency policy contained in the Act was the Green Deal. The Act also set out plans for an Energy Company Obligation (ECO) running alongside the Green Deal.
The full text of the Energy Act 2011 can be read here.
The Energy Act 2010
The Energy Act 2010 provided for measures to implement some of the provisions in the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan. It also introduced legislation on key measures to contribute to the elimination of fuel poverty. The Act paved the way for the introduction of mandatory social price support and provided for the development of guidance on eligibility for it. Energy companies funded these measures by contributing £250 million in 2011-12 rising to £310 million by 2014-15, this support took the form of The Warm Home Discount Other measures contained in the Act included provisions to increase fairness in the energy market. These provisions covered additional powers for Ofgem and allowed the UK Government to set the period within which energy companies must inform consumers of changes to their tariffs.
The Energy Act 2008
The Energy Act 2008 paved the way for some notable developments. These included the creation of a Feed-In-Tariff for low-carbon electricity generation on a small scale, smart meters , strengthening the Renewables Obligation and establishing the Renewable Heat Incentive.