Skip to content Skip to footer

Prepayment meter customers “footing the bill for energy firms’ errors”

26 November 2014

Citizens Advice has today called for adequate compensation and better service for prepayment meter customers who have been suffering from seven years of faulty meters.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

“Prepayment meter customers are footing the bill for energy firms’ errors. That overcharging has been going on for seven years shows the second-class service prepayment customers get. Prepayment meter customers are already paying higher charges than direct debit customers, so this is adding insult to injury.

“As a minimum customers now have a right to expect a refund on the mistaken extra charges and any interest on this money. Faulty meters that overcharge them are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems experienced by prepayment customers.  It costs prepay customers £80 more a year to heat and light their home, just because they use a prepayment meter.   

“As it stands many people are only able to top up their meters by going to a local shop. This often means that people who are housebound or those with children at home have to go without heating or lighting, until they are in a position to leave the house or get someone to go for them.  Energy companies need to make topping up their gas and electricity meters easier, including allowing people to top up over the internet or by phone.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Citizens Advice is running the ‘Fair pay for prepay’ campaign demanding a fairer deal for millions of energy prepayment meter users.
  2. This year the Citizens Advice service celebrates its 75th anniversary. We’ve planned a year of activity running from January to December 2014. Contact the press office on 03000 231 080, or via email at press.office@citizensadvice.org.uk, to find out more.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at adviceguide.org.uk
  6. 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
  7. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.6 million problems from April 2012 to March 2013. For full 2012/2013 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  8. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 22,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.