It is imperative that prepayment meter (PPM) customers continue to receive protection. The CMA stated in its initial ruling of the energy market investigation that PPM customers have higher actual and perceived barriers to switching that arise from both lack of internet connectivity and the need to physically change meter to switch to a wider range of tariffs (and associated perceptions of the complexity of this). In addition, PPM customers are often likely to: have a poor credit history; be severely indebted or; be stranded on PPM due to the preferences of their landlords. The CMA believed that the best way to remedy this was to enforce a price cap for all prepayment metered customers which should be active until the smart meter rollout had been substantively completed for this customer set. NEA agrees and as the CMA set out in their mid-term review, the smart meter rollout has not reached a point where it would be acceptable to stop the prepayment cap. It is therefore clear that the prepayment cap must continue after its upcoming termination in the form of a CMA regulated cap.
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