Millions of struggling households could see their energy bills slashed soon under new prepayment meter rules. The plans are set to be announced in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget this week.
Households placed on prepayment meters are usually on low incomes. But they often end up paying more because energy suppliers pass on the cost of managing the meters.
But in a move that the Treasury says will save households £45 a year, prepayment customers will no longer pay more than direct debit households from July. A full announcement on this is expected on Wednesday (March 15) when Mr Hunt delivers his budget.
He said: “It is clearly unfair that those on prepayment meters pay more than others. We are going to put an end to that.
“From July, four million households won’t pay more than those on Direct Debits. We’ve already cut energy bills by almost half this winter, and this latest reform is proof again that we’re on the side of families.”
Meanwhile, there is a six-week ban on firms forcibly installing prepayment meters after an investigation by The Times newspaper claimed British Gas used debt collectors to break into the homes of vulnerable customers in order to install meters.
Oftgem asked all suppliers to follow suit after British Gas suspended future instalments last month. The ban includes prepayment meters being installed under warrant as well as customers being switched over remotely and ends on March 31.