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Labour calls on Government to stop “shameful” forced installation of prepayment meters


Labour is today calling for an immediate moratorium for the duration of the winter on the forced installation of prepayment meters, which has left millions of people without power.  The latest figures show that over 15,600 people in Wakefield have a pre-payment electricity meter, a figure that is likely to have increased with forced installations this winter. In a letter to Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Secretary Grant Shapps, Labour's Ed Miliband has called for the Government to work with the regulator to ensure that energy companies immediately comply with a ban.  Research by Citizens Advice has found that 3.2 million people across Great Britain ran out of credit on their prepayment meter last year because they couldn’t afford to top up.  Whilst protections are supposed to be in place to stop vulnerable customers being moved onto prepayments meters, there are serious concerns that not enough is being done by energy companies to identify customers in these circumstances before installing a prepayment meter, and that this is leading to a rise in voluntary self-disconnections.  Labour is calling for an immediate moratorium at least for the duration of the winter while an urgent review takes place of how customers on pre-payment meters can be properly protected, building on leading consumer affairs organisations calls for a long-term review of the treatment of users of prepayment meters.  Labour has already called for an end to the injustice that people on prepayment meters have to pay more for their energy than those on direct debits. The party has called for additional government support to individual households on prepayment meters, to level the playing field on the cost of electricity and gas for households. Labour’s Shadow Climate Secretary, Ed Miliband MP, said: “It is shameful that forced installation of prepayment meters is cutting off people’s heat and power, including some of the most vulnerable people in our society.  We need immediate action to halt this scourge of blackouts by the back door. Labour is calling for a moratorium to stop even greater misery this winter, while the government, regulator and energy companies get a grip on this problem, to tackle the hardship millions are facing. “Rishi Sunak must not blame others for what is his Government’s dereliction of duty. He is standing by while families across the country are being cut off. “Britain’s energy bills are too high, and our energy system is too weak after thirteen years of Conservative failure. Only Labour can cut bills once and for all, with our plan to make Britain a clean energy superpower by 2030, and to deliver GB Energy, a publicly owned energy company producing cheaper, cleaner, homegrown power for the British people.” Simon Lightwood, Wakefield's MP said, "No family in Wakefield should have to go without the heat and power they need to get by. "It is extremely disturbing to read that 1 person every 10 seconds is disconnected from their prepayment meter as they cannot afford to top up. "The Government must implement a total ban on forced prepayment meter installations until new protections are introduced, ensuring households can no longer be fully cut off from gas and electricity."

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