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Pre-payment Meters

Volume 456: debated on Tuesday 6 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the impact of pre-payment gas and electricity meters on low income customers; and what estimate he has made of the cost to customers of having to use pre-payment meters. (112244)

According to the Expenditure and Food Survey 2005-06, around half of prepayment meter customers fall into households in the bottom 30 per cent. of the income distribution. The average annual bill for gas pre-payment customers in 2006 is £25 higher than standard credit, while the average bill for electricity pre-payment customers is £21 higher than standard credit. Some companies have equalised their pre-payment and standard credit tariffs.

The Government continue to encourage energy companies to consider their most vulnerable consumers when considering price or service changes, however the choice of a pre-payment meter is mainly a matter for the consumer. We encourage everyone to use the competitive market to get the best deal.