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Families need more options to top up energy prepayment meters

17 November 2014

Citizens Advice has called on energy suppliers to offer prepayment customers alternative ways to top up their gas and electricity meters rather than only being able to top up in store. The call comes as Smart Energy GB reveals almost half (48%) of Great Britain wants to use smart pay-as-you-go services to buy their gas and electricity

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

“Energy prepayment meters are stuck in the dark ages.  While other pay as you go services, like mobile phones, are making use of the latest technology, developments for energy prepayment meters have stood still.

“Many people like the control prepayment meters give them over their finances, but they don’t enjoy the level of service.  If their meter runs out the only way they can top up is at a local store.  This can be particularly difficult for parents with children at home or those who are housebound meaning all too often people have to go without heat and lighting.

“It’s time energy firms brought prepayment meters into the 21st century by offering customers the chance to top up online or over the phone.  Suppliers also need to increase the number of prepay tariffs so consumers have more than one option.”

Through its Fair play for prepay campaign Citizens Advice is demanding a fairer deal for millions of energy prepayment meter users.  Anyone wishing to support the campaign can sign our petition: http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/campaigns/current_campaigns/fairprepay.htm

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.