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Cost of living: Row over who should police energy prepayment switches

A trade body for energy firms says the regulator should ensure rules are followed, but Ofgem hits back.

Source link Today, amid a row between Ofgem and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) over who should police the £1bn switch from pre-payment meters to smart meters, the cost of living for vulnerable people is rising at an unprecedented rate.

Ofgem and BEIS are arguing over who should be responsible for monitoring the energy prepayment switches – something they both consider a priority following the proposed government-led switch to smart meters.

Prepayment meters enable people to pay for their energy in advance, and are usually located in people’s homes. Smart meters, in contrast, measure energy usage more precisely and help people manage their energy use more effectively.

However, although the switch to smart meters could help save money and energy in the long run, many people are concerned that increasing energy bills and the cost of living could make the switch difficult in the short term.

Furthermore, consumer groups warn that prepayment switches can go wrong and, in some cases, cause taxes to be applied to energy bills. So, it is important for someone to be responsible for ensuring that any prepayment switch is done safely and securely.

At present, both Ofgem and BEIS have vowed to ensure customers get a fair deal. Ofgem is pushing for more regulation of energy prepayment switches, while BEIS is calling for a more collaborative approach.

With the cost of living continuing to rise, it is important that there is someone to monitor the energy prepayment switches, in order to provide consumers with better protection from inflated energy bills and higher taxes.

Clearly, there is no easy answer to the row between Ofgem and BEIS, so it remains to be seen who will be responsible for policing the £1bn switch from pre-payment meters to smart meters. But, whatever decision is made, it is crucial that the cost of living for vulnerable people is not forgotten in the process.

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