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Utilities: Fees and Charges

Volume 464: debated on Monday 15 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what measures he is taking to prevent energy companies demanding payments arising from not recalibrating token meters and subsequently seeking backdated payments; (157103)

(2) what recent discussions he has had with the energy regulator on energy suppliers who charge backdated payments after delays in the recalibration of token prepayment meters; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what measures he plans to take to assist households who have received backdated payment requests by energy suppliers who have not recalibrated token prepayment meters; and if he will make a statement.

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) is responsible for regulating gas and electricity supply, including matters related to prepayment meters, and I have no plans to meet with the energy suppliers on this issue. I welcome Ofgem’s commitment to working with suppliers to improve their performance in recalibrating and replacing certain prepayment meters. My Department continues to monitor progress. Ofgem has provided regular updates on suppliers’ progress, with the latest published in a letter of 9 August from its Director of Governance. This letter, which included details of the progress on customer communication made by Scottish Power, Powergen and npower, is available from Ofgem’s website at:

www.ofgem.gov.uk