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MP - Fair play on prepay!

January 16, 2015 12:21 PM

Tim in WestminsterSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has backed a campaign by the Citizens Advice calling a fair deal for prepay customers. Tim has been told there are a number of Citizens Advice client's in our area who have been affected by this issue.

According to estimates nearly one fifth of people are on prepayment tariffs. Despite paying on average £80 a year more than direct debit customers, energy prepayment meter users get a second class service including:

  • Limited top up options
  • Little or no choice of tariffs
  • Faulty keys or meters
  • Poor customer service.

Citizens Advice evidence also reveals that 16 per cent of prepayment meter users are cut off over the winter: either because they cannot afford to buy more energy or because they are unable to top-up their meter.

Tim has joined Citizens Advice and consumers to demand a fairer deal for millions of energy prepayment meter users. Citizens Advice have called on energy companies to deliver:

A better price

● Pay-as-you-go is the cheapest payment method available.

● Free access to near real time electricity use, account information in

pounds and pence, details of standing charges and debt repayments to help customers budget and become more energy efficient.

● An equal amount of pay-as-you-go tariff options compared to other payment methods.

More control

● A choice of ways to top up such as by phone, text, or online in addition to cash top-ups over the counter at a convenient location.

● Switching supplier to/from pay-as-you-go is made easier and free of charge - no more security deposits and fees for meter exchanges.

● Free low credit alerts - a text or alarm on the smart energy display to warn when credit is low.

● A 'lifeline' supply of electricity or gas at all times, even when

a customer has been unable to top up their meter.

Easier use

● No more misdirected payments.

● No more cards or payment keys that need to be inserted in the meter which can be lost, stolen or broken at a cost and inconvenience to the customer.

● A free 24hr helpline for mobiles and landlines

Tim said: "People using this payment method too often face poor service, a lack of innovation and a lack of choice. Despite this second class service pre-payment meter users generally pay more for their energy than other customers on different payment methods. Many of these customers are amongst the poorest in our community. I am pleased to support the Citizens' Advice campaign and call for fair play for those on pre pay."