Monday, 15 June 2009

Pre-Pay Meters

It seems that radical and revolutionary organisation The National Housing Federation has exposed a scam of the highest order by the energy companies - high tariffs on the pre-pay meters, as the BBC reports:

Customers who use pre-payment meters have overpaid the energy companies nearly half a billion pounds over the last three years, it is being claimed.

The National Housing Federation (NHF) made the calculation using figures from Ofgem, the energy regulator.

It says higher charges paid by metered customers are in breach of EU rules and suggests clients may be entitled to claim the money back.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8099776.stm

Now I have a number of friends and relatives who for one reason or another have ended up on the pre-pay, usually through poverty, divorce or bereavement. And without exception the money they use to fill the meter has gone, shall we say, like water.

Smart Electricity MeterImage by freefotouk via Flickr


I've always had an awareness that the rates were set higher than those for people willing or able to pay by the usual means but have never seen a way of doing anything about it. Hopefully this could be the beginning to getting recompense for those who've been screwed over by the utility companies.

Not forgetting of course that this is a first class reason for bringing the utility companies back into public ownership. Private companies serving the public in these quasi-monopolistic industries will always put the shareholder and execs salary package before the customer.
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2 comments:

  1. Chris

    This is so typical of the world we live in, fleece those who are least able to afford it and shield and protect the wealth of those who can. As you say, this is why essential services on which peoples lives depend must be nationalized as the quality of our lives and society is about more than profits for multi nationals.

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  2. Mick, we also need to reign in the financial institutions who seek to penalise those who may be in difficulty. Credit cards are an obvious example http://www.ecomparison.co.uk/news/credit-card-purchase-rates-continue-to-increase-438/ , raising rates to offset what they see as increased risk, the result of which pushes more people to the wall and increases risk - a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    At least Obama is setting some restrictions in place http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601205&sid=aM5MWbboKysM unlike our own politicians who will be looking to join the boards of these institutions when they get laid off at the next election.

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Keep it clean!