5th Dec, 2016

Coventry MP targets 'rip off meters' costing poorer households £226 more in bills

Coventry Editorial 11th Jan, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A COVENTRY MP has put his name to a campaign seeking to ‘end the rip-off of prepay energy meters’.

Geoffrey Robinson MP has attacked the ‘PrePay Rip Off scandal which forces poor families to pay a £226 tax to heat their homes’.

Prepayment meters cost on average £226 a year more than paying for energy by direct debit, he says. It forces the poorest to pay over the odds on their gas and electricity bills and then ‘choose between heating and eating’.

The Coventry North west Labour MP said: “The energy companies make huge profits and can easily afford to end the unfairness of prepayment meters…  Let’s end the ‘Prepay Rip Off’ once and for all.”

He claims that, since 2010, the number of people forced to use prepayment meters in England has risen from 5.3 million to 6.3 million.

He also points to Office for National Statistics confirming that, of the 43,900 Excess Winter Deaths last year, an estimated 13,000 were due to cold homes.

In his statement, Mr Robinson adds there is ‘growing evidence that the cost of prepayment meters are driving people to rely on food banks to make ends meet’.

The campaign to end the ‘Prepay Rip Off’ urges the government and energy companies to take five simple steps:

1.       Cut the cost of prepayment meters in line with the cheapest direct debit fuel tariffs saving consumers £226 a year

2.       End debt collection by energy companies during the winter (as Scottish Energy have done)

3.       Ensure homes with pensioners, disabled people and children don’t have prepayment meters fitted

4.       Stop installation of prepayment meters during the winter

5.       Prioritise prepayment customers in the smart meter UK rollout.