Details of customers on some state benefits could be handed to UK energy firms so they can give them special rates.
The plan, under consideration by the government, is intended as a new approach to help people who are struggling to pay their energy bills.
It would allow power companies to transfer customers to a special tariff set by the regulator, Ofgem.
Energy Secretary Greg Clark said the proposal would help vulnerable consumers.
The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said data-sharing would take place under strictly controlled conditions and only with customers’ consent.
Five million of the UK’s most vulnerable households are facing an average rise of £57 a year in their energy bills, the regulator has said.
Ofgem said savings under the current price cap will be reduced from April.
That is because the cost of producing energy – including wholesale costs – is expected to rise in the Spring.
The so-called safeguard tariff has now been extended to an extra one million households who currently receive the warm home discount.
Around four million people with pre-payment meters already have their bills capped.
The extra million households will start by saving £115 a year, but from April the savings will be reduced to an average of £66 a year.
Source: Energy UK firms could get welfare data – BBC News