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Tuesday, February 10, 1998 Published at 14:57 GMT


Power companies want £100m levy to aid poor
image: [ The electricity industry has suggested a £4 levy on all households ]
The electricity industry has suggested a £4 levy on all households

Electricity companies have put forward a plan to collect up to £100m from households to help poorer electricity users, according to the Financial Times.

Electricity industry officials said the idea for a £4 levy or tax on households was presented to the Energy Minister, John Battle and the Paymaster General, Geoffrey Robinson, two weeks ago.

The move comes just before the expected publication later this month of the government's green paper on utility regulation.

The review is expected to highlight Labour's concern that deregulated energy markets could unfairly hit the poor, especially those who use prepayment meters.

Industry officials have said that further study would be needed to determine whether such a tax on households would require legislation. Also under consideration is whether it should be extended to businesses as well as households.

The utilities green paper is expected to underline the government's belief in the social responsibility of the companies as it aims to change the regulatory framework to make it more consumer oriented.

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