Energy companies could get welfare claimants' data to offer special tariffs
Energy companies could get access to data on welfare claimants in order to offer the poorest households a special cheaper tariff.
The plans are part of a consultation from Business Secretary Greg Clark designed to help people on low incomes cope with financial pressures.
Under the proposals, the most vulnerable families could get access to a special rate set by the energy regulator, Ofgem.
It is part of a wider government strategy to clamp down on high utility bills, with Theresa May reviving plans to cap bills for some 12m consumers.
The Business department has made clear that the use of claimants' data will be under strict conditions in order to move people on certain state benefits on to the 'safeguard tariff cap'.
The tariff is already in place for some 5m people, mostly those who use pre-payment meters for their electricity.
"The effects of energy price rises are often felt most by those on the lowest incomes, as they are usually on the highest standard variable tariffs," Mr Clark said.
"These people are at risk of being plunged further into fuel poverty if they are left at the mercy of a broken energy market.
"Enabling energy suppliers to establish who should be on Ofgem's safeguard tariff cap will help these vulnerable consumers."