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Ofgem demands end of 'unfair' prepayment meter charges

Ofgem demands end of 'unfair' prepayment meter charges

Fees are charged for installation and removal, often hitting the poorest hardest.

Anna Jordan

Household money

Anna Jordan
Updated on 26 June 2015

Ofgem has demanded a "level playing field" for prepayment energy customers, after identifying a number of ways in which they are not being treated fairly.

The energy watchdog’s prepayment review revealed that some suppliers charge as much as £180 to install and £160 to remove prepayment meters from UK homes. Ofgem said it will now work with suppliers to abolish installation and removal charges.

Its review also found that nearly 60% of suppliers charge security deposits when customers want to pay by credit or direct debit, with an average fee of £211.

Removing barriers

[SPOTLIGHT]Ofgem wants to see installation and removal charges abolished by autumn. The energy watchdog is concerned that charges are falling on those that are least able to afford them.

It wants to “remove barriers, deliver greater protections and offer more choice for prepayment customers”.

Recent figures revealed that over 500,000 prepayment energy meters have been forcibly installed in people’s homes over the past six years. This is because energy suppliers can still get a court order to install a prepay meter when customers fall into debt.

Ofgem is also investigating the number of prepayment tariffs on offer and their cost.

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