Houses in London

Heating or eating? Assembly condemns energy price rises

08 March 2017

One million Londoners are affected by fuel poverty and recent price hikes by Npower, Scottish Power and EDF, have been criticised by the London Assembly today. 

Assembly Members agreed a motion calling on the Mayor to meet with the big six energy companies to lobby them about increases to energy prices.

Leonie Cooper AM, who proposed the motion said:

“I am very proud to present this motion on a subject which, quite frankly, was swept under the carpet by the previous Mayor.

“It is a scandal that in a city of London’s wealth, one million Londoners are affected by fuel poverty. The reality of that is families choosing between heating and eating, health problems in babies and young children, and older Londoners wearing their coats indoors because they fear the next energy bill landing on the doormat. The Mayor’s Fuel Poverty Action Plan and Better Boilers Scheme will go a long way, but the energy companies must play their part too by keeping prices down.”

Caroline Russell AM, who proposed the amendment said:

“The Mayor promised to set up a fully licensed not-for-profit energy company. Londoners need an environmentally sound and trusted local energy supplier as an alternative to the big six and their sky high prices.

“Energy for Londoners is a real opportunity to invest in local community energy schemes to provide clean energy for London’s schools, businesses and hospitals.

“The Mayor has a £67.9 million reserve fund he could use to get this energy company going, I hope once he has finished his feasibility study he will provide detailed plans and a dedicated budget for it.”

The full text of the amended Motion is:

“This Assembly condemns the recent announcement by Npower of a 9.8% rise in gas and electricity bills for customers on a standard variable tariff.

Furthermore, this Assembly also records its disappointment at the news that Scottish Power will raise dual fuel bills by 7.8% from 31 March and EDF will raise electricity bills by 8.4% from the 1 March.

This Assembly believes fuel poverty to be one of the most significant challenges facing London. Over 1 million Londoners are affected with over 348,000 homes fuel poor.

This Assembly further notes that there were over 4,000 excess winter deaths in the capital in 2014/15, with between 30-50% believed to be attributable to cold homes.

This Assembly strongly welcomes the Mayor’s commitment to establish a Fuel Poverty Action Plan and the launch of the £1m Better Boilers scheme which will tackle poor air quality in addition to reducing carbon emissions and fuel poverty.

This Assembly calls on the Mayor to seek a meeting with representatives of the big six energy companies and lobby them to bear down on price hikes that will likely result in many Londoners having to choose between heating and eating. We also call on the Mayor to speed up the formation of his fully licensed energy supply company to give Londoners an alternative to the big six.”

Notes to editors

  1. International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organisation, 12 June 2017. Proposal for a National Vehicle Scrappage Fund, 12 February 2017.
  2. Ibid p.17
  3. Watch the full webcast.
  4. The motion was agreed by 17 votes for, to 0 votes against.
  5. Leonie Cooper AM, who proposed the motion, is available for interviews. Please see contact details below. 
  6. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Mary Dolan on 020 7983 4603.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.