Ruth explains why the prepayment meter price cap is insufficient
Ofgem’s Prepayment Price Cap Briefing Tuesday February 7th at 9.30am-10.30am
On Tuesday February 7th
Ofgem announced the levels of pre-payment price cap which come into force on April 1st
. The transitional price cap is being introduced following the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA’S) two year investigation of the energy market. It will bring into effect the outrageous decision of the CMA to cap the extra toll on Prepayment customers by only around £75 a year – despite these customers, usually the worst-off, paying around £300 extra for the privilege of paying in advance.
Following the announcement, Fuel Poverty Action attended a briefing for stakeholders
at Ofgem’s London office at 9 Millbank at 9:30am. FPA presented detailed evidence and devastating personal testimonies to the CMA last November[i]along with a tiny doll’s cap[ii] but they preferred to listen to the industry, which is now increasing prices yet again.
The energy companies’ licence conditions (SLC 27.2A)[iii] says any extra charge shall reflect real costs – yet real costs of prepayment meters were calculated by the CMA at £54, raised under pressure from the industry to £63. The extra paid by prepayment meter consumers is around £300, and decreasing it by £75 will not bring it down to £63. Suppliers will still take in an extra £160 profit per year from each prepayment customer. The licensing conditions are not being met.
The CMA’s Roger Witcomb says, “It is unacceptable that four million households on prepayment meters, many of them vulnerable, face higher bills than other energy customers”
. [iv] Yet this is exactly what he has ordered.
Ruth London, from FPA says, “Thousands of people die every year because they cannot afford to heat their homes, and millions live in fear of the heating, lights, and fridge clicking off when a meter runs out. The CMA seem to be more concerned to promote competition than they are about people dying – and then they expect us to be grateful. Of course, every penny does count, but the reality is bitter for customers who cannot afford this blatant discrimination against those who have least to begin with.”
“When we wrote to the Prime Minister about this in November, the reply put forward switching and competition as a solution. It is now perfectly obvious that competition does not work to protect customers in the energy market, even for credit meter customers and still less here. The Prime Minister’s outraged words about an exploitative market and her autumn promises to take action on fuel bills that are “just not right” have so far led to nothing but more pain. This pathetic cap is no exception.“
[ii] Photos here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B0qHcBpAhFaCVUQtcWwxS0RiYkk?usp=sharing
[iii] See Suppliers’ conditions at https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/licences-codes-and-standards/licences/licence-conditions
In August FPA submitted a response to the government’s consultation on how to allocate funding for District Heating projects. District Heating, where customers get heat from a central source – which can be fossil fuel, waste heat, or renewable – is being rolled out nationally. It has great potential to save on carbon emissions, and also bring down bills, but it is often being installed and run in a way that is actually bad for both the climate and its customers, who are locked into long term contracts with no regulation and no way to switch.
Our response to the consultation is based on the experience of Myatts Field North estate in South London. Following its submission, FPA and representatives from Myatts Field were invited to meet the heat networks team at the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). They seemed to take seriously our concern that if not run properly district heating could become as toxic as fracking, and that problems on existing heat networks need to be dealt with. You can download our submission here
If you have experience of District Heating (or a “Heat Network”), good or bad, FPA would be glad to hear from you.
GET WARM – GET INFORMED – Saturday 19 March, 11am, Brixton Library
Lambeth pensioners, tenants and residents say, if we can’t afford to heat our own homes, we have a right to make ourselves cosy in any warm building! And we have a right to the information we need so we don’t have to freeze in the future. It cannot be right that every winter, thousands of people die from fuel poverty!
Many people have kept warm – and kept informed – in local libraries. Now so many are sentenced to be shut, abolishing an essential community resource for the sake of ideological austerity. Other life-saving services in Lambeth, including day centres and lunch clubs, which many people use to get warm, meet friends, and stay informed, also under threat.
Meanwhile, the residents of Myatts Field South, having benefited from communal heating at a guaranteed flat rate – especially important for those who are old, ill or disabled – are now being forced into fuel poverty through the imposition of individual boilers by intimidation. They are fighting to keep communal heating and to get insulation and solar panels so they can keep warm. No one should have to choose between heating and eating.
People everywhere are struggling to pay for fuel, while energy suppliers make record profits. And although we have some rights, we have no idea what they are! But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Brixton Reference Library, Brixton Hill, Brixton, London SW2 1JQ
Come join us at Brixton Reference Library on Saturday 19 March. We will make visible the coldness that inhabits our homes and our society, and skill up so we can not only demand what we are already permitted, but so much more: warm, well insulated homes powered by communal and democratically maintained renewable energy, and public spaces which enable and nurture community.
Bring your mum, your dad, your kids, your neighbours, and your experience – we are stronger together!
Organised by Fuel Poverty Action with:
- LAMPAG Lambeth Pensioners Action Group
- LOPA Lambeth Older Peoples Alliance
- MFS TRA Myatts Field South Tenants and Residents Association
Also supported by:
- Friends of Lambeth Libraries
- DPAC Disabled People Against Cuts
Any questions, or want to add your organisation to the list of supporters? Email us on [email protected]m
Have you considered organising a late-winter ‘warm-up’ action?
Based on the principle that we all have a right to come in from cold homes, these safe and friendly direct actions give people a chance to gather somewhere cosy, get information about their rights and speak about their own situations. They are often led by pensioners. In the past, ‘warm-ups’ have been held in shopping centres, a town hall, the Royal Festival Hall foyer, and a City of London bank.
Last November, we warmed up in the House of Commons! See the report below, by journalist Mamasu Kallon.
Protesters hold Parliament ‘warm-up’ over winter deaths
“If we can’t heat our homes, we have a right to warm up in any public building – including Parliament.” This was the stance taken by pensioners at a ‘warm up’ protest inside Parliament’s Central Lobby on Wednesday.
Continue reading “Time to warm up?”
Residents on Myatts Field South estate are fighting Lambeth Council who want to replace their communal heating system with individual boilers. Several have been to court after refusing to let workers into their flats to install the new system against their will.
Continue reading “Myatts Field South tenants and residents fight for their heating system!”
Introducing Switched On London, a new campaign coalition demanding clean, affordable and democratic energy in the capital through publicly owned energy.
www.switchedonlondon.org.uk | @SwitchedOnLDN
The floods in Cumbria are a reminder of how close to home the impacts of climate change are being felt. Three once-in-a-hundred year floods in ten years aren’t an indication of terrible misfortune, but of a new baseline. As leaders and business executives meet in Paris with the outcome uncertain, in London the fight for clean, affordable energy is being taken in a new direction.
In the face of a cartel of energy companies whose turn to renewables is far too slow — and whose profit-hungry business model leaves thousands struggling between heating and eating in the winter — Switched on London is a new campaign launching to build energy democracy in London. We demand that the GLA (Greater London Authority) sets up a new public energy company that works for people, not for profit.
Continue reading “Seeing the light…”
Guest Blog by Kate Belgrave
On 25 November, Fuel Poverty Action will take action in parliament against energy companies and welfare cuts.
One of the reasons that I am going is that I have been in personal dispute with Southern Electric for about a year. They take a lot of money from me and I do not like it.
In the last year, Southern Electric has:
Continue reading “Take action against energy companies! I will. Southern Electric is ripping me off”
If we can’t heat our homes, we have a right to warm up in any public building – including Parliament. We have a right to express our sadness, anger and solidarity with those who have suffered or are suffering.
On Wednesday 25th November, we will find out how many thousands of people died last winter because they couldn’t afford to heat their homes. Join Fuel Poverty Action and Lambeth Pensioners Action Group (LAMPAG) to take action in parliament to show support for those who have died. Come inside to WARM UP, and speak out to MPs, demanding an end to the unacceptable death and misery caused by fuel poverty!
Continue reading “Take action against fuel poverty deaths and welfare cuts – 25th Nov”
The Warm Homes Discount has been extended for another year- which means there is another opportunity this winter to get £140 off your electricity bill.
You should automatically get the Discount if qualify for the discount if on 12 July 2015 your electricity supplier was part of the scheme AND you were getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well).
If you don’t automatically qualify but you’re on a low income and/or you get certain means-tested benefits you may be entitled to the Discount. It’s worth checking with your supplier to see if you’re eligible and how to apply.
Scroll down to find your supplier- and note that the numbers of discounts given out are *limited* so it’s worth applying sooner rather than later, as they do ‘run out.’
If you are a customer at a smaller supplier, see if your supplier is signed up to the scheme here and follow the link through to their page to see if you are eligible.
Continue reading “Warm Homes Discount 2015/2016- How to get £140 off your electricity bill”
Guest Blog by Duncan Law, Biofuel Watch
Join Biofuel Watch in London, 11.00-13.00, the Grocer’s Hall, Princes St, EC2R 8AD, at #AXEDRAX, for a lively protest to expose and oppose burning biomass and coal..
Drax power station is the largest coal-fired power station and single biggest carbon emitter in the UK, and is now also the biggest biomass power station in the world. In return for trashing forests and digging up communities, Drax is receiving massive subsidies when it should have been closed down years ago.
For forests, communities and the climate, it’s time to #axedrax!
#AXEDRAX will unite Coal and Biomass campaigners with others who believe that UK energy policy is stupid and unjust.
Continue reading “What are YOU doing for Earth Day, Wednesday 22 April?”