Gordon MP Richard Thomson has said the announcement from Ofgem – the government regulator for the electricity and downstream natural gas markets – that it is to allow certain energy companies to force-fit prepayment meters to customers’ homes will require careful monitoring.
Ofgem has announced that certain suppliers including Scottish Power, EDF, and Octopus can now restart the installation of involuntary prepayment meters after meeting the new rules set out by the regulator.
Commenting, Richard Thomson MP said:
“While prepayment meters (PPMs) can be a useful tool to help customers monitor and budget their energy usage - much like a pay-as-you-go mobile phone contract - PPMs mean that customers pay for energy as they use it, instead of building up credit or paying quarterly, which helps reduce the chance of debt build-up.
“Whilst many PPM customers prefer this way to pay, I think that we should be mindful of how we got to a position in the first place where the installation of PPMs was banned, and that was through some quite horrendous cases of abuse of the system by energy companies, who hired debt collectors to break into people’s houses to fit these meters despite clear signs of vulnerable people or very young children living there. That remains the subject of a live investigation.
“There is a range of support available to constituents who may find themselves under pressure due to high energy costs and both I and my office will always be happy to advise. However, these new powers granted by Ofgem to energy companies need to be carefully monitored to prevent any further abuses.”