By Setting Up An Energy Company I Hope To Help Bring An End To Fuel Poverty In London

Everyone should be able to keep their home warm during the cold, winter months. Yet – shamefully – millions of people across the country are living in fuel poverty, unable to afford to heat their homes adequately.

This is a problem that has been getting much worse in recent years, particularly in London. But the Government has failed to act, leaving hundreds of thousands of households with children and older people at risk.

This issue can no longer be ignored so I’m doing everything in my power to take action.

One of the key problems is that far too many customers are still paying more than they should. Across the country, 60% of people are paying around £300 more every year than they need to because they have not been able to shop around for the best deal and switch energy provider.

This a major problem in London with fewer people switching electricity supplier than in any other region in England. On top of this, it’s often the poorest households who are less likely to have a ‘good deal’, with the latest figures showing that around 40% of those earning less than £16,000 never switch their energy provider.

It’s clear that people need a better, fairer deal on their energy bills. That’s why I have started the process of setting up an energy company to do just that in London. I’m looking to partner with a supplier who can offer fair energy bills to Londoners and help more people access my energy efficiency programmes for households across the capital. I want to move as fast as possible so a formal selection process will be starting as early as January.

This is all part of my wider Energy for Londoners programme, which aims to provide a better deal for Londoners. A better deal not only means delivering a fairer price for fuel-poor households, but helping to ensure we have more energy efficient homes and that we use cleaner, less polluting forms of energy.

I’m not prepared to wait years for this to happen as people are unnecessarily suffering right now. So I’m pushing ahead with London’s first ever joined-up plan to tackle fuel poverty. As part of my Energy for Londoners initiative, we have already insulated and replaced boilers in more than 17,000 homes. We are also bringing forward the investment we need and providing more advice and referral services to the fuel poor.

Last week, I also announced that the London Living Wage will increase to £10.20 an hour, which will help to ensure that more Londoners on lower incomes will earn what they need to support a decent standard of living and never have to choose between heating their homes and buying food for their family.

There is no doubt that we face a big challenge ahead. The disgraceful rise in fuel poverty is a problem that has been years in the making following a persistent failure to act at a national level. But today is a major step forward – a major step towards changing how Londoners access their energy, reducing fuel poverty and ensuring that everyone can live in a warm home – something that should be a basic human right in 21st century Britain.