Lowest tariff for energy suppliers

QUESTIONS have been raised as to whether the Prime Minister’s promise to put everyone on the lowest tariff operated by their supplier will be put into practise, and whether it will help those who are finding it a struggle to pay their energy bills.

The UK government have said that they will be bringing forward a number of amendments to the Energy Bill in order to put their plans into practise but witnesses appearing before the Bill committee have suggested that the measures will only put people on to the lowest tariff of the type they are currently on, which wouldn’t do much to help those on pre-payment meters which generally have a higher tariff.

Angus MP Mike Weir, SNP Westminster Spokesperson on Energy, who is serving on the Energy Bill committee, raised the matter at Energy and Climate Change questions, which took place last Thursday, asking the Minister how this would help those on pre-payment meters.

Commenting on the matter Mr Weir said the answer given was “evasive”.

He added: “The Prime Minister made the claim that the UK government would ensure that every consumer would be put on the lowest tariff available from their supplier, but they are rowing back furiously from this promise.

“It seems clear that, at best, the energy companies will be obliged to offer consumers the lowest tariff within the type of tariff they currently have but will not oblige them to offer a lower tariff within a different type.

“Pre-payment meter tariffs tend to be higher than other types of tariff and it is often the most vulnerable who are on such meters. There is the added problem that when money is tight they may often ‘self disconnect’ as they are unable to top up their supply.

“Pre-payment meters are one of the few examples of paying a penalty for paying up-front and in advance.

“The UK government must take action to tackle this matter and should ensure that pre-payment tariffs are reduced to ensure that everyone benefits from the proposed change.”