Watchdog pushed for low-cost 'social tariffs'

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The watchdog which regulates the energy market in the UK has said that the government should act to ensure suppliers offer their poorest customers a reduced tariff.

Watchdog energywatch said that low-cost energy tariffs would help lift millions of the most venerable people in the UK out of fuel poverty.

Under energywatch's proposals, the government would make it mandatory for energy companies to provide a 'social tariff' for low-income customers. Equally, the government would have to work to help identify the neediest customers.

"Many of Britain's poorest consumers pay more for their energy because the market is indifferent to their needs," said Jonathan Stearn, head of campaigns for energywatch.

"Suppliers have made attempts at offering discounted tariffs for eligible consumers. But these offers are inconsistent and can be more expensive than the suppliers' own Direct Debit tariffs.

"Government and industry must work together to develop the foundation for fair pricing to vulnerable households for a service which is essential."

Recently, energy suppliers such as British Gas have cut their prices after wholesale costs fell.

Click here to run an energy price comparison, and see if you could be paying less for your gas and electricity.

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