MP backs new energy bill

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LOCAL MP Mike Weir is supporting a bill which he believes will ensure vulnerable energy customers do not switch off their heating to pay off debt.

He believes that if prepaid meter customers with over £200 of debt are able to switch supplier, they can reduce their bills and pay their debt off more easily.

With bills rising by 140 per cent in eight years, and 20 per cent in the last two, average debt has risen to £350.

Commenting on the move Mr Weir said: “The cost of energy is crippling the finances of many households and it is vital that we do everything possible to reduce the burden.

“Prepayment meters are one of the worst cases where the cost of energy is not only higher but is the one recorded case where consumers paid more by paying cash in advance.

“We have the chance here to make a small change to an outdated regulation, which will make a huge difference to hundreds of thousands of people. Ofgem has simply been too slow to react to rising costs and I want this level changed before the cold weather sets in.

“Ofgem have agreed to look further into this issue. They will be asking energy companies to make voluntary improvements to the process later this month.

“If companies are not, however, willing to do this voluntarily we need to look at legislation such as this to force the issue.”