A new bill aims to require pre-paid meters to charge the same, or lower, energy tariffs than those paying via direct debit.
Kenny MacAskill’s (pictured) Energy costs (Pre-payment Meters and Social Tariffs) Bill received its first reading in the Commons and also hopes to force energy companies to provide social tariffs for low-income customers.
The MP told the House how four million households across the UK have higher costs imposed by the meters – which are particularly used by HMO landlords – labelling it an “appalling anomaly”.
MacAskill said many users could not afford either to buy a power card or to turn on the heating or any other powered appliance. “Compounding that injustice are accrued standing charges even when users have been sparing in their consumption,” he explained. “Many will find that their power card or savings are immediately consumed by paying debt before they get even a modicum of power.”
Meter vs Tariff
He added that for private landlords who wanted to avoid costs if a tenant left without paying their bill, smart meters offered some solution, but that the issue was not the meter itself but the tariff.
“It is not just unjust but perverse that those with least should pay most for energy, especially when those with most are paying least in their tax burden,” said MacAskill. “Pre-payment meters, whether smart or otherwise, can remain. What must end are the higher standing charges and tariffs.”
The bill will have it second reading on 24th March.