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Caerphilly Council calls on energy suppliers to stop forcibly installing prepayment meters

Prepayment meter

Caerphilly County Borough Council has agreed a notice of motion aimed at tackling fuel poverty.

The notice calls on UK Government to pass legislation to prevent energy companies entering people’s homes and fitting prepay meters, unless asked to do so by the householder concerned.  In addition, it asks that people be given the right to have prepayment meters removed from their home.

Cllr Carol Andrews, the Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Communities, raised the notice of motion during a meeting of full Council held on 23rd May.  Cllr Andrews said “Energy prices have surged, during the current cost of living crisis, and suppliers have stepped up the use of court warrants to force their way into homes to install prepayment meters.

“Prepay meters charge for energy at a higher rate than contracts where the customer pays monthly or by direct debit, and people in debt are often left with no choice but to “self-disconnect”.  For many, running out of credit is not a one-off event, leaving residents unable to cook or heat their homes.”

In response to public and media pressure Ofgem, the energy Regulator for Great Britain, has put in place a temporary ban on pre-payment meters, initially until the 31 March 2023.  This has now been extended until energy companies sign up to the Ofgem Code of Practice which requires suppliers to have effective checks and balances in place when switching people to a smart meter.  Under Ofgem rules companies must also offer payment plans people can afford and offer emergency credit for people who use a prepay meter and can’t top up.