Fuel Poverty: Green Light for Gas Distributors' Network Extension Plans

19 January 2010

Fuel Poverty: Green Light for Gas Distributors' Network Extension Plans

Plans drawn up by the four gas distribution companies to extend their networks to almost 20,000 fuel-poor customers who currently rely on electricity, fuel oil or coal to heat their homes have been approved by the industry regulator Ofgem.

The companies, National Grid, Northern Gas Networks, Scotia Gas Networks and Wales and West Utilities have also entered into partnership arrangements with selected funding agencies*. These agencies will provide eligible customers with help and financial support for both central heating and energy efficiency,and will ensure that where the gas distribution companies extend their networks into non-gas fuel-poor communities that those least able to afford to install in-home measures will have a „whole house solution?.

David Smith, Chief Executive of ENA, said: "The companies have been working tirelessly over the last three years to bring this scheme to fruition and are delighted that Ofgem has now approved their proposals. Giving more fuel-poor communities access to a mains gas supply for the first time will not only help significantly in the fight against fuel poverty, it will also contribute to the Government?s low carbon agenda by displacing high carbon fuels such as coal and fuel oil."

David continued, "We are confident the scheme will provide real benefits to households who have to spend a significant part of their income on energy. Indeed, we are hopeful that we can build on this initial scheme and encourage Ofgem to allow further funding in the future to enable the companies to extend the scheme for the benefit of even more customers."

The companies will be working closely with their partners over the forthcoming months to identify homes eligible for this financial support towards the costs of connection to the gas networks, central heating and energy efficiency measures.

ENDS

* The EAGA Partnership, Community Energy Solutions Group, National Grid Affordable Warmth Solutions and Warm Wales.