For Northern Ireland and all UK households, 2008 brought exceptionally high price increases in both regulated energy (electricity and natural gas) and in home heating oil.
As a response to these escalating prices, in May 2008 the Minister for Social Development, Margaret Ritchie, established the Fuel Poverty Task Force, bringing together the key stakeholders in energy in Northern Ireland to identify how fuel poverty should be addressed.
At the same time, the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) and Bryson Charitable Group (Bryson) had been looking at the possibility of options to procure cheaper energy for households in Northern Ireland and took this scoping study forward. The study comprised desk research on similar schemes in Great Britain and further afield along with a programme of interviews with key energy and other stakeholders in Northern Ireland.
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