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Pre-paid meter users pay extra £226 for energy


Citizens Advice has claimed that people with pre-paid meters for gas and electricity are paying on average £226 a year more than they would have done on the cheapest direct debit tariff.

The gap between the cheapest and the lowest prices for gas and electricity has widened by a third in the last six months, thanks to the increase in pre-paid meter charges.

The findings are part of an inquiry into the whole energy industry conducted by the Competition and Markets Authority, which began a year ago. The full report is due next week.

Those who have lower incomes are more likely to have pre-paid meters, and 80% of people who have them installed already have debt.

Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice said:
"The CMA investigation provides an opportunity to overhaul the energy industry and make it fairer.
"Giving pre-payment meter customers a better deal is a crucial part of this."

The Co-Operative was the worst offender for increased pre-paid prices, with customers having to pay up to £405 more a year. When the difference in price was pointed out to them by Citizens Advice, Co-Op have agreed to close some of the gap.

A spokesperson for Co-operative Energy said:
"Following contact with Citizens Advice, we have taken the opportunity to review our dual fuel pre-payment tariff and will be reducing it to match the cheapest of the Big Six rates immediately."

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