Public show strong support for a social energy tariff, as winter approaches
- Over three quarters (77%) of the British public support the introduction of a social tariff for vulnerable energy customers;
- Of those who support, 59% believe the fairest way to fund a social tariff is through taxes paid by everyone;
- As the market remains unstable, EDF has seen a 36% increase in residential customers with unsecured debt since the beginning of 2023;
- EDF is investing more than £200m to help its customers save cash and carbon this year, including providing debt relief and energy efficiency measures;
- The energy company is calling for the Government to push ahead with introducing a social tariff from 2024, with targeted support in place to help the vulnerable this winter.
Support for the introduction of a social tariff for vulnerable energy customers is strong amongst the British public, with 77% in favour - rising to 83% of those over 65 - according to new research by EDF.
With the energy market remaining volatile, EDF has seen a 36% increase in customers in debt, with no agreed plan to pay off, since the beginning of 2023. Despite a cut to the energy price cap, 84% of bill payers say they have concerns about paying their energy bills this winter - with a third (35%) very concerned.
Nearly half (49%) of those polled favour a reduction on bills of between 10% - 25% for vulnerable energy customers through the introduction of a social tariff. Those in support of a social tariff are so because of the impact of the cost of living crisis (68%), the recent increase in energy prices (59%) and to ensure support is given to those on benefits or who are vulnerable (48%). When it comes to funding amongst those who support a social tariff, six times as many say it is fairer to fund through taxation than through energy bills (59% vs 9%).
The majority of people (59%) are not willing to see an increase in their annual energy bills to support a social tariff. Amongst the 23% who would be willing to see their bills increase, 44% said they would accept an increase of between £50-99, with 15% saying it could be between £100-199. Just 4% would accept an increase of over £200, despite an increase of more than £200 being required to clear the debt currently owed by EDF customers.
Philippe Commaret, Managing Director for Customers at EDF, said: “While prices have fallen in recent months, they’re still double what they were pre-crisis and we’re seeing more households starting this winter in debt compared to last year.
“Our research shows that support from the British public for a social tariff is strong, but that the solution mustn’t burden all customers with higher bills. We’re urging the Government to push ahead with its plans to launch a social tariff next year and publish a consultation as soon as possible.
“Until then, there are many customers already struggling ahead of this winter and we think interim support from Government is needed until a social tariff can be introduced. EDF will be stepping up the support we offer to customers this winter.”
In the height of the energy crisis, EDF launched its CARE support programme, designed to better identify customer need and target greater support. This year, it is investing more than £200m to help its customers save cash and carbon, including providing debt relief and energy efficiency. And it has developed new processes for this winter to deliver financial support faster.
EDF also continue to work with others, such as Citizens Advice Plymouth, National Energy Action and IncomeMax to reach those in need. Through its partnerships, EDF customers claimed over £600,000 in new benefits and over £1.4m in increased income last year.