THE MP for Aberconwy, Robin Millar, has welcomed reforms in the Chancellor’s Budget that energy suppliers will be prevented from charging their customers more for their gas and electricity if they use prepayment meters.

The Government will end the “prepayment penalty”, under which four million households throughout the UK who use prepayment meters being forced onto higher rates than those who pay using a direct debit.

From July, the Energy Price Guarantee will be adjusted so that prepayment customers pay at the same rate as direct debit customers.


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Households on prepayment meters will save at least £45 a year until 2024, when regulator Ofgem will report on how to permanently end additional charges for prepayment meters.

The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, described the situation as “clearly unfair”.

He said: “We are going to put an end to that.

“From July, four million households won’t have to 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 always on the side of families.”

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Commenting on the reforms, Mr Millar said: “Many Aberconwy residents have written to me in recent months about household bills.

“The ‘prepayment penalty’ – supposedly linked to the cost of managing the meters – has led to higher rates compared to those on direct debit.

“This is not fair and often hits those without regular income, alternative payment arrangements or access to electronic banking the hardest.

“I took these concerns directly to ministers and I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement that the practice is to be ended.

“It has taken a long time but I am delighted this injustice is being fixed. Coming on top of our Energy Price Guarantee, it continues to lower energy costs for all residents.

“Just two months after being elected as MP for Aberconwy I, campaigned successfully on behalf of residents for British Gas to reconsider a raise in minimum top-up from £1 to £5 for their pre-payment customers.

“The company restored the minimum top up to £1 when the difficulty and distress this was causing was explained.

“In a cold house, often with children, very rural constituents like many in Aberconwy, were faced with a long journey to top up their payment cards.

“A minimum payment of £5 meant some could not pay the bus fare and top up the card for their pre-payment meter.

“I will always do everything that I can to support and protect the most vulnerable and the most isolated people.”