Electricity firms force households into debt

January 17, 2007 9:00 AM

Cambridge MP and Lib Dem Energy Spokesperson David Howarth has fiercely criticised electricity suppliers for pushing vulnerable households into debt.

Customers on pre-payment electricity meters have been hit by large back payments from companies such as Scottish Power, N Power and Powergen, after the companies failed to recalibrate meters to keep up with rising energy prices. When the recalibration finally occurred, vulnerable customers are landed with a bill to cover months of higher charges.

Mr. Howarth commented:

"This is absolutely disgraceful. People choose to use pre-payment electricity meters to avoid going in to debt. These are the most vulnerable consumers who are least able to meet such sudden and unexpected demands.

David Howarth MP

David Howarth MP

"If an electricity company fails to recalibrate meters to keep up with rising energy costs they must be the ones to bear the financial costs of this, not the consumer. It is the electricity company who has the responsibility to keep token meters up to date and so it should not be the consumer who is suffering when they fail to do so."

David Howarth has signed an Early Day Motion calling on the Government to force electricity suppliers to end back-charging for their pre-payment meter customers.

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