I joined other MPs at the welsh launch of the #PrePayRipOff campaign in the House of Commons to call on the government and energy companies to clamp down on the cost of prepayment meters.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have recommended a tariff cap, which is a partial win, however more needs to be done to ensure that the most vulnerable consumers in our communities are protected.
The latest research by the Citizens Advice Bureau has revealed that pre-payment meter customers on average pay £226 a year extra for the cost of their energy compared to the cheapest direct debit tariff. And with 1 in 5 prepayment meter users already in fuel poverty this amounts to an extra £1637596 a year being taken out of the pockets of the 7246 households in Newport East who can least afford it.
I joined the call for the Government to take action on the Big 6 energy companies saying “It is unacceptable that the poorest in our society are forced to pay the most for their energy bills when the cost of energy is falling but bills continue to rise. I will continue to call for real action in the energy market to pass on the savings which thousands of families in my constituency deserve. This Prepay Rip Off must end now.”
Dawn Butler MP said:
“These meters are costing Welsh consumers and the local economies of our communities £62 million. It is about time someone stood up to the Big 6 energy companies on behalf of the most vulnerable energy consumers who have been left out of pocket. The cost of energy is at an all-time low yet prices keep going up. The Government need to take action to force energy companies to pass on these savings to consumers. If you support my campaign add your voice by signing the petition!”
Nia Griffith MP, leading the Welsh PrePay Rip Off campaign said:
“Nearly 300,000 Welsh homes have no choice but to use prepayment meters to pay their energy bills. This is money taken out of the pockets of those who can least afford it, and money that would otherwise be spent in the local economy on goods and services. I am calling on the energy companies to automatically give all Welsh consumers the best possible deal on their energy tariffs.”
You can sign the petition online by going to http://chn.ge/1P83QSC.
The petition calls on the government and energy companies to:
1. Cut the cost of prepayment meters in line with the cheapest direct debit fuel tariffs saving consumers £226 a year
2. End debt collection by energy companies during the winter (Scottish Energy have lead the way)
3. Ensure homes with pensioners, disabled people and children don’t have prepayment meters fitted
4. Stop installation of prepayment meters during the winter
5. Monitor and require action on self-disconnection by those on smart meters and prioritise prepayment meter customers in the UK roll-out.
The change.org petition launched has so far gained over 6,000 signatures http://chn.ge/1P83QSC or the full link: https://www.change.org/p/david-cameron-mp-end-the-prepay-rip-off-prepay-fuel-bills-cost-226-a-year-more-than-direct-debit
Dawn Butler MP has launched an interactive map on her website so Welsh constituents can see how their constituency is affected by the additional cost of prepayment meter http://www.dawnbutler.org.uk/prepay_rip_off_map_wales
CAB research suggests that households using prepayment meters are £226 worse off than those on the cheapest form of Direct Debit from the same supplier
Christians against Poverty report The Poor Pay More found that 57% of PPM consumers were limiting their use of energy over the winter period
The Competition Markets Authority found that the difference between the cheapest Prepayment tariff and Direct Debit tariff was between £260 and £330. Much more than our estimate of £226 when the campaign originally launched.