Brent MP Dawn Butler calls for government action against ‘rip off’ energy costs for prepayment meter customers

Dawn Butler is the Labour MP for Brent Central

Dawn Butler is the Labour MP for Brent Central - Credit: Archant

A Brent MP has tabled a motion in the House of Commons calling for action against big energy companies that charge higher prices to poorer households that use prepayment meters.

Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central, brought up the issue that effects 10,000 households in the borough in Parliament as part of her campaign to tackle fuel poverty.

Explaining that on average prepayment meters cost 5.2 per cent higher for electricity and 5.5 per cent higher for gas, she said: “I pledged very early on in my general election campaign that I would campaign for fair tariffs for all consumers, especially to protect those most vulnerable in our society.

“It is a scandal that over 12 per cent of households in Brent are suffering from fuel poverty in this day and age.

“Prepayment meters are an affront to any kind of progress and support for fuel poor homes, they pay the highest tariff, are sometimes even charged installation fees on top of their existing debt and have very little support from avoiding self-disconnection.

“There are many groups in Brent that provide support for these homes like Energy Solutions, but government cuts to local government funding is directly impacting the support they receive to keep these vital services going.

“Rather than cutting even further we need to invest in making our homes more energy efficient and provide cheaper and more affordable tariffs to all.”

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Ms Butler has support from all parties after a report by the independent Competition and Markets Authority showed that UK households have been over charged by more than a billion pounds a year by the ‘Big Six’ energy companies.

Chris Grayling MP, Conservative Leader of the House of Commons, said: “Of course it is right and proper that energy companies should take into account the pressures that some people in our society are facing. I will ensure that Ms Butler’s concerns are drawn to the attention of my colleagues, and I know that she will take advantage of the opportunities that the house provides to continue to raise her concerns.”