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25 Nov 2008 : Column 1464W—continued

Departmental Recruitment

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many civil servants in his Department were recruited through the fast stream; and what the average salary of those officials is. [229137]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which was formed on 3 October 2008, will consist of posts transferred from the existing Departments for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) and for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (DEFRA). The detail is still being worked on, but staff will come to DECC from Energy Group in BERR and Climate Change Group in DEFRA. Given that, I refer the hon. Member to the answers given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 18 November 20008, Official Report, column 302W and my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Employment Relations and Postal Affairs, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on 27 October 2008, Official Report, column 760W.

Departmental Reorganisation

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the estimated (a) set-up costs and (b) full year running costs of his Department are expected to be. [233412]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: We have no estimations for one-off set up costs for the Department. The final budget for DECC will be agreed once negotiations on the Machinery of Government changes with BERR and DEFRA are complete.

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Electricity: Per Capita Costs

Mr. Ingram: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the annual average cost per domestic electricity consumer in Scotland arising from the operation of the Renewables Obligation Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [230116]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 28 October 2008]: The Renewables Obligation Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Executive.

However, Ofgem, which administers the Renewables Obligation for DECC, the Scottish Executive, and DETI Northern Ireland, have calculated the annual cost of the RO for 2008-09 to be around £10 per customer. This information is published on the Ofgem website at

Energy Demand Research Project: Finance

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the budget is for the Energy Demand Research Project in (a) this financial year and (b) each of the next five financial years. [234610]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government’s overall budget for the Energy Demand Research Project is £9.75 million. The amount spent each year is not fixed but is dependent on the rate of progress of the project and claims for contributions from the participating energy suppliers. It is expected that expenditure on the project will end during the financial year 2010-11. The Government’s contributions to participating suppliers are being matched by the suppliers, taking the overall budget for the project to over £19.5 million.

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what funding the Government has provided to the Energy Demand Research Project in each financial year since its creation. [234612]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Energy Demand Research Project was launched in July 2007. During the 2007-08 financial year, Government expenditure on the project totalled £1.8 million. Expenditure to date this financial year is over £1.6 million.

Energy: Housing

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much of the recently-announced domestic energy funding package has been spent on domestic energy efficiency measures; and how many households have received such funding. [227381]

Joan Ruddock: From 1 October to 17 November the Warm Front Scheme has spent approximately £16.5 million of the extra £50 million added to this financial year's budget. This has assisted more than 10,000 households by delivering energy efficiency advice together with a range of heating and insulation measures.

Government will be consulting shortly on proposed legislation regarding the increased CERT (Carbon Emission
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Reduction Target) and the new CESP (Community Energy Saving Programme) obligations. In anticipation of this the energy suppliers have significantly increased their insulation programmes for this winter. In fact, as part of their obligation to improve household energy efficiency, energy companies estimate that they will insulate twice as many cavity walls and 50 per cent. more lofts than last winter.

Thousands of extra people have benefited from energy saving advice from the Act on C02 helpline since the 11 September announcement. The Energy Saving Trust took 89,000 calls in September (against 27,000 in September 2007) and 92,000 in October (against 33,000 in 2007).

Energy: Meters

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will put in place a deadline for the compulsory roll-out of smart energy meters to homes and businesses. [235196]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 12 November 2008]: The Government announced on 28 October their plans to roll out smart meters to all domestic customers—as can be seen in the Official Report, House of Lords, 28 October 2008, column 1515—with an indicative timetable of around two years to design and establish the full details of a roll-out followed by a 10-year roll-out period.

In the 2008 Budget the Government announced the roll-out of advanced metering for larger business customers over a five-year period beginning in early 2009. A consultation on the provision of smart and advanced metering for remaining business customers closed on17 October. The Government will respond soon.

Energy: Prices

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what information his Department holds for benchmarking purposes on (a) changes in energy prices in (i) other EU member states and (ii) the EU in each of the last three years and (b) the support other EU member states provide to vulnerable energy consumers. [238497]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Domestic and Industrial retail prices for gas and electricity for EU member states are published in section 5 of ‘Quarterly Energy Prices’, the latest edition of which was published in September 2008 and is available online at:

Table 5.6.2 on page 64 shows average electricity prices, including taxes, for domestic consumers. Table 5.10.2 on page 70 shows average gas prices, including taxes, for domestic consumers.

With regard to vulnerable energy consumers, since 2000, over two million households have been assisted in the UK through fuel poverty schemes and £20 billion has been spent on fuel poverty benefits and programmes.

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DECC does not hold any data on support provided to vulnerable energy consumers by other EU member states.

Fuel Poverty

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the Government’s target is for reducing fuel poverty; what changes have been made to this target since January; what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on this issue; what recent representations he has received on fuel poverty; what reply he gave in each case; and if he will make a statement. [227584]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Government targets are unchanged and seek to end fuel poverty if reasonably practicable in vulnerable households in England by 2010; and to ensure that as far as reasonably practicable by 22 November 2016, no persons in England live in fuel poverty.

Ministers in DEFRA and BERR hold regular discussions with ministerial colleagues including those in HM Treasury, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health.

The Department regularly receives representations on fuel poverty and recently these have included those from the Local Government Association. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has received representations in the form of a judicial review challenge from Friends of the Earth and Help the Aged which touches upon the operation and effectiveness of the Act. The High Court granted permission to Friends of the Earth to pursue the challenge, which was heard in the High Court on 6 and 7 October. The verdict is currently awaited and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate his Department has made of the numbers of those (a) in fuel poverty and (b) in fuel poverty and in a vulnerable group in England for each year since 2003; and how many of those were resident in each government office region in each such year. [234194]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Fuel poverty estimates are published annually. The latest figures are for 2006 and can be found in the UK Fuel Poverty Strategy Report, 2008 and associated statistical annex. These can be accessed online at

Estimated figures for England are as follows:

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Estimated number of households in fuel poverty (millions)

England Vulnerable













Regional estimates for total fuel poverty are also available and are contained within the Detailed Tables statistical annex. These show the following:

Number of fuel poor household (thousands)
Government office region 2003 2004 2005 2006

North East





Yorkshire and Humber





North West





East Midlands





West Midlands





South West





East England





South East















The equivalent figures are not available for the vulnerable group.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many households with at least one person (a) over 60 years old, (b) under 16 years old and (c) with a long-term sickness or disability were estimated to be in fuel poverty at the latest date for which information is available. [234503]

Joan Ruddock: Fuel Poverty estimates are published annually, the latest figures relate to 2006. The requested information is available in the Fuel poverty statistics: detailed tables, available online at

These show the following:

Number of households in fuel poverty

At least one person aged over 60


At least one person aged under 16


Someone in the household has a long term illness or disability


Fuel Poverty: Chelmsford

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the number of households in West Chelmsford constituency that are in fuel poverty. [230515]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 27 October 2008]: The most recent year for which sub-national estimates of fuel poverty are available is 2003. The data for fuel poverty levels for 2003 come from the Fuel Poverty Indicator dataset available online at:

In 2003, there were around 2,300 households in the constituency of West Chelmsford living in fuel poverty.

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