Energy suppliers have been told by the government they must help vulnerable customers get cheap gas by ensuring all users who are eligible for the Warm Home Discount receive assistance.
The new scheme replaces current social tariffs and is designed to help pensioners and those on low incomes meet their fuel bills by providing them with a one-off payment of £120.
However, an investigation by the BBC last week found many people may not receive this assistance due to limits on funding put in place by providers.
Radio 4's Money Box programme revealed five of the Big Six energy suppliers plan to place limits on the number of applications they will approve, with EDF's energy policy officer Valentine Mulholland saying it has budgeted for around 45,000 subsidies, which are to be awarded on a "first come, first served" basis for customers other than retirees.
When contacted by consumer group Which? in response to the report, Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Energy both said it was too early to say how they would implement restrictions, while npower suggested it would help around 90,000 customers.
British Gas, on the other hand, stated it is looking to help all eligible consumers, which includes those with household incomes of under £16,190 who spend more than ten per cent of this on fuel.
Energy minister Greg Barker, speaking on BBC Breakfast yesterday (October 10th), criticised the caps and said he wants to see companies working to ensure help is given to all individuals who qualify for the scheme.
"Responsible energy companies like British Gas have said very clearly that all of their customers will be guaranteed a payment if they qualify," he said, adding: "I want to see the other energy companies rising to the challenge in the same way."
Energy policy adviser at Which? James Tallack noted that, with over six million homes in fuel poverty, this issue is "too important to be left to the discretion of individual suppliers".
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