Pre-payment meter costs to be limited

Getty Images

Tens of thousands of energy users will not be required to pay up to £900 each, if they are forced to have a pre-payment meter installed.

By January, the energy regulator Ofgem is to set a maximum limit of € 150 in such cases.

The most vulnerable will see their fees waived entirely.

At the moment there are approximately 40,000 people per year are obliged to pay large fees when their energy provider gets a court decision to have a meter.

On average, customers will have to pay £400 to cover the costs of the installation.

These costs include the court fees, and the use of the blacksmiths of the dog or of managers, if these are required.

However, some energy companies already provide such meters for free.’Last resort’

Those who do not have to pay anything, are people in serious financial difficulty, or those who find the experience “severely traumatic”, for example, because of mental health problems.

Those who are forced to pre-payment meters installed are often in debt in the first place – which makes it difficult for them to pay the extra expenses.

“At the moment vulnerable customers face a double blow when they are hit with high guarantee charges on top of existing debt – at the risk of making their situations worse,” said Rachel Fletcher, Ofgem’s senior partner for consumers and competition.

“The measures to protect all consumers, including the most vulnerable, to experience unnecessary inconvenience due to having a meter installed under the mandate.”

Ofgem also warned the vendors that the installation of pre-payment meters should be the last resort.

Customers, instead, should be encouraged to manage their debt through repayment plans.

From the month of April, the price of energy for the pre-payment meter customers has been limited.