A SIMPLE solution to free over 200,000 energy customers from crippling tariffs is being proposed, after Ofgem is criticised for not helping poorer households.
If prepaid meter customers with over £200 of debt are able to switch supplier, they can reduce their bills and pay their debt off more easily. Angus MP Mike Weir is supporting a bill from North West Glasgow Labour MP John Robertson which looks to ensure vulnerable customers, such as pensioners and poorer families, do not switch off their heating to pay off debt.
With bills rising by 140% in eight years, and 20% in the last two, average debt has risen to £350. Raising the level of debt to reflect changing prices is Ofgem’s responsibility, but Robertson, a member of the Energy and Climate Change committee, says he is moving the bill to get “actual movement on this simple but crucial proposal”.
Mr Weir said: “The cost of energy is crippling the finances of many households and it is vital that we do everything possible to reduce the burden. Prepayment meters are one of the worst cases where the cost of energy is not only higher but is the one recorded case where consumers paid more by paying cash in advance.”
“We have the chance here to make a small change to an outdated regulation, which will make a huge difference to hundreds of thousands of people. Ofgem has simply been too slow to react to rising costs and I want this level changed before the cold weather sets in.”
Ofgem have agreed to look further into this issue. They will be asking energy companies to make voluntary improvements to the process later this month.