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Pre-pay energy customers get a second rate service, says Citizens Advice

31 March 2015

Citizens Advice today responds to the launch of Smart PAYG+ by energy company Ovo.

The charity has found that pre-payment customers pay an average £80 per year more than direct debit customers and get much worse customer service. Citizens Advice’s campaign Fair play for prepay is urging energy companies to offer a better price, more control, and easier ways to use pre-payment meters.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said:

   "Prepayment customers pay more money for a second rate service.

   "As well as facing great inconvenience when topping up, customers pay on average £80 more than those using direct     debits.

   "The launch of Smart PAYG+ is an encouraging development and hopefully it will kick-start some further competition into     the prepay market."

Smart PAYG+ is an app which allows customers to manage their energy use and top-up online at any time and any place.

Notes to editors:

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, 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 find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at adviceguide.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. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014  service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.