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Energy: Meters

Volume 502: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent estimate he has made of the (a) average and (b) maximum premium being paid by customers using pre-payment meters for (i) gas and (ii) electricity compared to customers paying by direct debit. (303531)

The most recent figures on tariffs are those for November 2009. The new rules outlawing undue price discrimination came into force on 1 September.

According to the latest available figures from Ofgem, prices for an average consumer using 3,300 kWh of electricity per year, indicate an average annual differential of £28 (pre-payment compared with direct debit) and a maximum differential of £60.

For an average consumer using 20,500 kWh of gas per year, November 2009 prices indicate an average annual differential of £49 and a maximum differential of £107.

Ofgem produces estimates of domestic household energy bills, and these reflect current prices as at November 2009. The maximum and average differentials given here mean the difference between direct debit and pre-payment tariffs available to consumers by a single supplier within one region.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to amend the system of pricing for pre-payment fuel meter customers. (303644)

E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power, EDF Energy and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) have chosen to equalise their prepayment meter tariffs with standard credit for both gas and electricity. In addition, Centrica has equalised its electricity prepayment meter tariffs with standard credit.

New rules came into force on 1 September outlawing undue price discrimination and ensuring price differences between different payment methods for electricity and gas are cost reflective.

In their latest Quarterly Price Report, published 7 December 2009, Ofgem reported that tariff differentials for prepayment meter customers now, on average, reflect cost differences. This report can be found online at:

http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Markets/RetMkts/ensuppro/Documents1/Quarterly%20Wholesale%20Retail%20Price %20Report%20November%202009.pdf