Labour is today calling for an immediate freeze for the duration of the winter on the forced installation of prepayment meters, which has left millions of people without power.
In a letter to BEIS Secretary Grant Shapps, Ed Miliband called for the Government to work with the regulator to ensure that energy companies immediately comply with a ban.
Research by Citizens Advice has found that 3.2 million people across Great Britain ran out of credit on their prepayment meter last year because they couldn’t afford to top up.
While protections are supposed to be in place to stop vulnerable customers being moved onto prepayments meters, there are serious concerns that not enough is being done by energy companies to identify customers in these circumstances before installing a prepayment meter, and that this is leading to a rise in voluntary self-disconnections.
Labour is calling for an immediate freeze on forced installations of pre-payment meters for at least for the duration of the winter while an urgent review takes place of how customers can be properly protected. This measure would build on leading consumer affairs organisations’ calls for a long-term review of the treatment of users of prepayment meters.
Labour has already called for an end to the injustice that people on prepayment meters have to pay more for their energy than those on direct debits. The party called for additional government support to individual households on prepayment meters, to level the playing field on the cost of electricity and gas for households.
Rachel Hopkins MP said:
“It is shameful that the forced installation of prepayment meters is cutting off people’s heat and power, impacting some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
Britain’s energy bills are too high, and our energy system is too weak after thirteen years of Conservative failure. We need immediate action which is why Labour is calling for a freeze on these forced installations of to stop even greater misery this winter.”