Our Co-Chair Ben Lake has issued the following statement on the actions required of Government and Ofgem to support prepayment meter customers. This was featured in an article in the i paper in January 2023.
“The APPG for Fuel Poverty & Energy Efficiency is concerned about the situation facing vulnerable prepayment customers. Reports about the batch approval of warrants from magistrates’ courts risks vulnerable customers, including those with medical conditions, being forced onto prepayment meters against their will and when this could be unsafe.
“In the first instance, the Government must act urgently to issue a moratorium on new prepayment meter installations over the winter. Alongside this, Ofgem should ensure households with medical conditions are transferred away from prepayment meters as a matter of urgency.
“We know that households with these meters are more likely to be in fuel poverty and have often experienced high debt levels. The Government should provide financial support to consumers specifically to clear debts and bring forward additional targeted financial assistance for prepayment meter customers in the next Budget.
“The aim for Government and Ofgem should be to both reduce the number of households on prepayment meters and fix the inequalities in the market for these customers. The APPG will be working cross party to build support for a social tariff to better protect these customers from high wholesale prices as the Government has signalled it will reform protections for vulnerable energy customers from April 2024. The Government could do two things more immediately to make the prepayment meter pricing fairer – reduce the high standing charges and ensure any costs of failed suppliers are moved onto general taxation as a fairer way to recover costs.”