Money alert: Homes with prepay meters face cold winter

 

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The Independent Online

Energy firms can’t cut off vulnerable customers until next April.

That’s to ensure that people are able to heat their homes through severe cold spells. But almost 2 million of the most vulnerable will be left with no power in their homes this winter because they have pre-payment meters and don’t top them up.

Citizens Advice suggests the number of people who effectively self-disconnect is as high as one in six, leaving an estimated 1.62 million people facing heat-free homes at some stage this winter.But analysis of energy firms’ approaches to self-disconnection shows that most firms only contact vulnerable consumers a month after they last topped up.

“It is concerning that, as temperatures start to drop and the nights draw in, some prepayment consumers will be living in cold, dark homes because they can’t afford to put money on their meters,” said Gillian Guy of Citizens Advice.

In many cases people run out of credit or aren’t able to get to a shop to top up. Citizens Advice wants better customer service and support with easier top ups and a fair choice of tariffs for prepay consumers

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