Consumers tell Ofgem they care about sustainable development

Ordinary energy customers prioritise secure, clean energy and help for the fuel poor Ofgem’s Consumer First Panel have told the regulator they believe everyone must “do their bit” towards sustainable development.

Ordinary energy customers prioritise secure, clean energy and help for the fuel poor Ofgem’s Consumer First Panel have told the regulator they believe everyone must “do their bit” towards sustainable development.

Panel members feel that tackling fuel poverty is a key issue and all agree that the fuel poor should be protected with properly targeted assistance.

Ofgem’s primary objective is to protect the interests of current and future consumers, which gives the energy regulator a clear responsibility to consider sustainable development, broadly described as working to enable: safe and secure energy supplies; affordable warmth and other energy services; and a reduction in carbon emissions.

To help the regulator embed sustainable development into its decision making, Ofgem asked its Consumer First Panel, made up of 100 ordinary energy customers, to discuss their understanding of the issue and what elements they considered to be the most important.

Although panellists were not immediately familiar with the term “sustainable development” they stressed the importance of looking to the future to ensure resources do not run out, “being green” and “doing the right thing”. The broad issue of climate change is understood and many are aware from the media of the risk to energy supplies There is a general view that the Government is best placed to drive forward a sustainable development agenda.

Panellists have limited knowledge of the Government’s low carbon targets and many feel consumers should be made more aware. Some have the view that the energy industry should “set an example”, perhaps by sending bills on recycled paper or by increasing consumers’ awareness of on-line billing. Consumers also want more help in understanding how to save energy in their homes.

Ofgem’s Senior Partner for Sustainable Development, Sarah Harrison, said:

“Ofgem’s Consumer First Panel provides valuable insights that help shape Ofgem’s decisions. The panels’ views will help Ofgem’s work to promote sustainable energy solutions and deliver low carbon initiatives such as the roll out of smart meters.”

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