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NPC calls for urgent end of force-fitting PPMs

The National Pensioners Convention is calling for an urgent end to the force-fitting of Prepayment Meters after news that energy firms can resume the ‘draconian’ practice.


The NPC says it is time the government and energy regulator Ofgem completely abandon the measure, which was paused a year ago over concerns that Prepayment Meters (PPMs) were forcibly installed in the homes of vulnerable people.


NPC comment as force-fitting of PPMs resumes


However, Ofgem now says three energy companies - EDF, Octopus and Scottish Power - have been granted approval to resume force-fitting PPMs after meeting a new set of requirements established by the regulator.


The NPC - the UK’s largest campaigning group run for and by older people – believes this is an appallingly cruel decision just one week into 2024, during the coldest month of the year, and with energy bills still rising.  We believe understanding and a new strategy are needed over the reasons why people get into energy bill debt.


Wrong and ‘spiteful’ to assume older people deliberately not paying energy bills as force-fitting of PPMs resumes


NPC General Secretary, Jan Shortt said: “While we understand that energy debt needs to be dealt with, force fitting Prepayment Meters through the courts is a draconian measure the NPC would very much like to see abandoned.  We will be monitoring very closely any efforts to apply warrants granted.


There are many reasons for energy debt - not least the doubling of costs last year and the cost-of-living crisis making it very difficult for the majority of ordinary people and pensioners to eke out their income to pay ever-increasing bills.


“We urge the Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero to engage with the energy providers, the Regulator of Ofgem, the NPC and the Fuel Poverty Coalition to debate and consider a plan to enable those in debt to be able to make payments according to their ability, not the energy providers to top-load plans.


“We would also welcome some understanding from energy providers in terms of customer responses to their communications on debt.  Firstly, they should understand that for most older people, there is no spare money, and they are not members of the 'won't pay' brigade. The overt assumption that everyone in debt is deliberately not paying is erroneous, spiteful and completely unnecessary.


“Secondly, the energy providers need to rebuild trust between themselves and their customers as a result of those choosing to work outside of their moral obligations.”

ENDS


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NEWS - NPC - Re-Start of force-fit of PPMs by energy firms wrong and spiteful
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