Gas and electricity Updated:
The poorest and most vulnerable energy consumers are to receive a greater amount of help as a result of new legislation revealed in the Queen's Speech.
The new Energy Bill aims to protect vulnerable households by improving the social tariff system for people in fuel poverty, such as in the form of an electricity bill rebate.
The current voluntary agreement with energy companies, which ends in 2011, is thought to have helped reduce the fuel bills of more than one million vulnerable customer accounts.
However, according to Age Concern and Help the Aged, there are a further four million struggling households that need to be reached, half of which are elderly.
"The new regime must streamline eligibility criteria and ensure that the poorest customers are automatically placed on the lowest available tariff offered by their energy supplier," the groups added.
"While this will bring some long-awaited relief to many older households, a more ambitious long term strategy is needed to make the country's housing stock fuel poverty proof."
As winter draws in, gas and electricity bills inevitably rise as homeowners attempt to counteract the colder weather.
A recent survey revealed that people who have never before switched their energy supplier could save on average between £73 and £91 a year.
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