Rory supports APPG inquiry into issues affecting off-grid residents

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Off-Gas Grid has recently announced the launch of an inquiry into issues relating to fuels affecting off-grid constituents.  The inquiry will follow on from the recent work on off-grid fuel poverty by the Energy and Climate Change Committee and the 2011 market study of the off-grid sector by the Office of Fair Trading. The aim of the inquiry is to investigate the ways off-grid consumers are disadvantaged compared to mains gas users, the extent of this disadvantage, and methods for its alleviation.

Speaking on the issue within a local context, Rory welcomed the inquiry, stating:

“The latest statistics that I have seen make for sobering reading: over 60,000 households are now living in fuel poverty in Cumbria, equating to almost 28% of the county’s households. This equates to an increase of approximately 130% since 2005, which clearly is unacceptable, and the pattern appears to be more prevalent in Eden, with 38% of households calculated to be living in fuel poverty. This proposed inquiry will look into issues that will be affecting a significant number of Cumbrians because of the high levels of rural isolation within our county. I sincerely hope the inquiry highlights the scale and seriousness of fuel poverty, particularly in rural areas of the UK, and that its findings lead to further positive initiatives to address the issue, such as the Winter Warmth Campaign and the Warm Home Discount Scheme.”

Co-Chair of the APPG Therese Coffey MP said: “Four million households across the UK are not connected to the mains gas grid and are reliant on much more expensive heating sources.  They struggle to heat their homes adequately, and cold homes raise the chances of illness or worse in winter.  Despite this, off-grid consumers do not enjoy the same protections as mains gas users, so this inquiry seeks to highlight the problems of fuel poverty they face.  We hope to suggest measures which will help the most vulnerable people to heat their homes.”

The APPG is calling for interested parties to submit written evidence to the inquiry in response to the terms of reference which have been published today.  The deadline for submissions is Friday 12th October.  Oral evidence sessions will be conducted in late October, and the APPG hopes to publish its report by early December.

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