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Citizens Advice response to Ofgem’s proposed safeguard tariff

3 July 2017

Citizens Advice has said today that extending the prepayment meter cap to those eligible for the Warm Home Discount is “the best way to protect the worst off.”

The national charity has been calling for the price protection for the most vulnerable since 2014 and has welcomed the announcement from the regulator Ofgem that will consult on introducing a safeguard tariff for vulnerable consumers.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Capping energy bills for the poorest pensioners and families on standard variable tariffs will help those who have been let down the most by a broken market.

“People who stay with the same supplier are being penalised for their loyalty - paying hundreds of pounds more a year for the same gas and electricity. It is too often the most vulnerable and those with the lowest incomes who pay the highest prices for their energy.

“We have been calling for the prepayment meter cap to be extended to all those eligible for the Warm Home Discount for years - and the regulator’s announcement today paves the way for protecting as many as 2.6 million more who can least afford rising energy bills.

“Extending the prepayment cap is the best way to protect the worst off - and suppliers must also do more to cut costs for all loyal customers. We’d like suppliers to have annual targets for getting their customers off standard variable tariffs, and a deadline after which any who haven’t switched for 3 years would also have their bills capped.”

Citizens Advice estimates that extending the prepayment meter price cap to people eligible for Warm Home Discount would protect an extra 2.6 million households from the highest gas and electricity prices.

Those eligible for Warm Home Discount  include low income households with an elderly person, a young child or someone with a long term health condition.

Previous Citizens Advice research found that around 800,000 of the poorest pensioners and 1.5m low income families with children in Great Britain are on their energy supplier’s standard variable tariff, costing them an average of £140 a year more.

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Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
  5. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.