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The Fuel Poverty Advisory Group is sponsored by DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change).
The spiel on the website goes: “The Fuel Poverty Advisory Group (FPAG) for England is an advisory Non-Departmental Public Body, sponsored by DECC and comprising a wide range of member organisations. The Group consists of a Chairman and senior representatives from the energy industry, charities and consumer bodies. Each member represents their organisation, but is expected to take an impartial view.”
Annual Reports are declared every year, but I’ve struggled to find exactly how the group is funded; what are the funding levels; what are the precise financial arrangements; where are their meetings held and how often? Generally, how much does it all cost? Apart from the Annual Reports, there’s not a lot there for the public to see. Transparency appears not to be a consideration, despite rocketing energy prices. The group formed in 2003, with 13 members, and this has grown to 20. Their purpose is basically to monitor and tackle fuel poverty, preventing poorer members of the public from being ripped off.
However, if they’ve all been attending regular meetings, the impact of which seems to have been negligible, or even counter-productive for the last 8 years, and if they’re being fed and watered and rewarded with public money for the privilege of achieving not a lot, what incentive will there be to come together to build a common resolve, a continuing sense of purpose and a desire to protect the poor?
They have a strategy to eliminate fuel poverty in the UK (as far as reasonably practicable) by 2016. That’s currently looking like a pipedream.
Does anyone remember the old Thatcherite pre-privatisation promise about competition bringing prices down for the public? This would be laughable right now, if it hadn’t turned out to be so deceitful, scandalous and plain wrong. With energy prices going through the roof and almost certainly on into the stratosphere, and suspicions of a cartel in operation, have the FPAG had much success in their mission?
I think we all know the answer to that.
Read here how in 2011 it is feared 6.4 million households are expected to plunge into fuel poverty (more than 10% of household income spent on fuel) when all the expected price rises eventually hit.
The only FoI request made via www.whatdotheyknow.com to FPAG in February this year is still sitting there, waiting to be acknowledged, seven months later.
I’ll give them another try and see if anyone’s home. Here’s my #FoI 010/11 request, lodged on 12th August: