Npower, whose German parent company RWE reported profits of £1.68 billion last year on the back of rising energy prices, was singled out in a report by the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group. Scottish Power, which made £483 million last year, was also rated poorly for doing least to help its most vulnerable customers.
Households are deemed to be living in fuel poverty if they spend more than 10% of their income on heating and lighting bills. The industry regulator Ofgem estimates that there are now 4 million households living in fuel poverty in the UK.
Currently, each power company can set the level of help it chooses to offer those customers, such as through lower prices or subsidies for loft insulation.
In August, Ofgem , the industry regulator , examined what each company was doing to help its poorest customers. Its findings were then analysed by the fuel poverty group . The report said npower "clearly stands out as the company that does the least for its vulnerable customers". It also criticised the company for having the highest prepayment electricity tariffs . The original Ofgem report found that npower had fewer than 1,200 of its total 6.8 million customers on its First Step social tariff - less than 0.02%. In comparison British Gas had 300,000, or 2%, of customers receiving financial help. EDF offers help to about 60,000 customers, or 1%.
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