Government blocks Wera Hobhouse’s Bill to stop prepayment meters

One of the many scandals of the cost of living crisis is the forced installation of prepayment meters. Energy companies raking in massive profits are compelling their poorest consumers to paying the highest rates. The BBC highlighted the heartless attitudes behind such practices in a report this week.

While Wera Hobhouse enjoyed the success of getting her Bill aimed at tackling sexual harassment in the workplace through its Commons stages this week, she was disappointed when the Government blocked her attempt to stop the forced installation of prepayment meters.

Here she is on Newsnight talking about why they are so bad:

Wera’s bill would have gone much further than the voluntary suspension of forced installation announced by OFGEM this week following the revelations about the British Gas contractors by outlawing the practice.

She said:

This Bill has been in front of Parliament since early December, but the Conservative Government chose to ignore it. Only after a scandal and shocking revelations about energy companies prying on vulnerable people did the regulator, Ofgem, finally act.

It is too little, too late. My Bill would go further than the Regulator, by banning the installation of prepayment meters for a period of time to get people through this difficult winter and to investigate any rogue practices.

With the Government shunning the fastest way to help these people who become victims of predatory energy firms, families and pensioners across the country will be worried about how they will keep the heating and lights on.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • Mel Borthwaite 5th Feb '23 - 6:42pm

    Pre-payment meters can help prevent households getting into arrears on heating bills and may help those vulnerable families who are too scared to turn the heating on in case they can’t pay the bill when it hits their doormats. The main drawback is that customers using pre- payment meters are charged higher prices per unit when there is a very strong argument that they should be paying at a lower rate since they are unlikely to become ‘bad debts’.

  • Alan pearson 6th Feb '23 - 6:17pm

    I think the practice of installing payment meters is wrong, as all of the energy company’s are doubling of tripling their profiteering the prices supposedly went up. I think they are lying about the prices they are paying for their supplies because their profits wouldn’t be so big, I think it’s just to rip off Joe public, and often let them get away with it!

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