A campaign for fairer prices for prepay energy customers is being backed by a city MP.
Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, has committed her support to Citizens’ Advice Sunderland’s Fair Pay for Prepay campaign.
The campaign on behalf of millions of prepayment meter users, is calling on energy companies to give pay-as-you-go customers a better price, more control and easier use of their energy supply.
One-in-six energy customers purchase gas and electricity using a prepayment meter.
An estimated 10.8million people live in homes that pay for their energy this way and the numbers are growing, with almost 2,300 meters installed every working day, sometimes because of debts, but also because customers are seeking greater control over their bills.
In Mrs Hodgson’s ward 8,041 households are on pre-payment meters, which is 21% of all households, two per cent above the national average.
However, these customers often receive poor service, limited ways to top up and little or no choice of tariffs, and carry a risk of self-disconnection, which credit customers do not.
Despite this, pay-as-you-go customers generally pay on average £80 more for their energy than direct debit customers.
The Fair Play for Prepay campaign wants to see an end to this second-class service.
Citizens’ Advice Sunderland is demanding that energy suppliers raise the level of service to prepay customers, make sure they have a choice of tariffs and can switch supplier easily.
Mrs Hodgson said: “I am only too pleased to be able to support this campaign.
“For far too long this system has been allowed to continue, with the highest costs being routinely placed on those least able to pay it.”
“We need a fair energy market that works for everybody and by doing this costs can be brought down and we will boost energy security for tens of thousands of people in this area alone.”