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Prepayment meter cap should stop poorest households paying over the odds

7 February 2017

The energy regulator Ofgem has today announced that the prepayment meter price cap will save typical prepayment customers around £80 a year when it comes into effect in April.

The national charity Citizens Advice has welcomed the savings this will bring prepayment meter customers but has called for the government to cut bills for other loyal customers on standard tariffs.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“This cap should stop some of the poorest households paying over the odds to heat and light their homes.

“For years prepayment meter customers have been paying more for the same gas and electricity as other customers, whilst also receiving a second-class service from their supplier.

“The cap set by Ofgem will help millions save money but action shouldn’t stop there. The government has rightly expressed concern that loyal customers on standard tariffs are paying over the odds for their gas and electricity.  It could help more struggling households, including low-income pensioners and families, by extending this cap to people eligible to receive the Warm Homes Discount.”

While some people prefer to use a prepayment meter, which can be easier to manage for example in a shared rented home, others are put on prepayment meters because they have struggled to afford their monthly or quarterly bills. Prepayment meters can give people more control over how much they spend but the cost per unit has until now been much more expensive.

Citizens Advice’s Fair Play for Prepay campaign highlighted the problems prepayment meter customers had with higher prices, poor service and a lack of choice in available tariffs.

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.