KENNY SEEKS ANSWERS.

For immediate release: Wednesday 25 January 2023 MACASKILL GRANTED URGENT QUESTION IN COMMONS ON SELF DISCONNECTION FROM POWER SOURCES UK GOVERNMENT MUST END FORCED INSTALLATION OF PRE PAYMENT METERS, ABOLISH HIGHER STANDARD CHARGES AND INTRODUCE A SOCIAL TARIFF East Lothian MP and fair energy prices campaigner Kenny MacAskill has been granted an Urgent Question by the Speaker “toContinue reading "KENNY SEEKS ANSWERS."

KENNY SEEKS ANSWERS.

For immediate release: Wednesday 25 January 2023

MACASKILL GRANTED URGENT QUESTION IN COMMONS ON SELF DISCONNECTION FROM POWER SOURCES

UK GOVERNMENT MUST END FORCED INSTALLATION OF PRE PAYMENT METERS, ABOLISH HIGHER STANDARD CHARGES AND INTRODUCE A SOCIAL TARIFF

East Lothian MP and fair energy prices campaigner Kenny MacAskill has been granted an Urgent Question by the Speaker “to ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy if he will make a statement on the levels of self-disconnection from power sources and on Government support on energy sources.”

Parliamentary written answers received by Mr MacAskill have this week revealed that the number of households, with smart meters, disconnecting from their power supply has risen to record numbers of 66,000 in Scotland and 660,000 across the whole of Britain.  However this is merely the tip of the iceberg as it excludes the hundreds of thousands of households in Scotland, and millions across the UK who are on legacy pre payment meters.  A further answer from Mr MacAskill provided confirmation that “forcible installations of pre payment meters for the most vulnerable customers have been banned by Ofgem since 2017.” And yet the level of forced installations continues to rise while both the UK Government and Ofgem fail to act in addressing a clear breach of Ofgem rules.

Speaking in the House of Commons Mr MacAskill, the ALBA Depute Leader will state:

“Thank you Mr Speaker

“A parliamentary answer on Tuesday disclosed that around 66,000 households in Scotland and 660,000 across Britain had self-disconnected from smart meters in Quarter 3 of last year.

“Self-disconnection is that euphemism for being simply unable to afford to heat or power your home. It’s as pernicious as the phrase collateral damage is in war.

“Those afflicted by self-disconnection and all its misery are also civilians, but we are at peace not at war.

“These figures are for the quarter before prices rose and temperatures dropped.

“They also are only the tip of the iceberg as the numbers are far greater. As these figures do not cover those on legacy Pre-Payment Meters installed before the advent of Smart Meters and operated by coin, card or other means. 

“They number just over 2 million in the UK and just under 300,000 in Scotland. What those figures will be, we can only guess at.  But they will substantially increase the numbers so tragically afflicted.  

“In an Energy Rich Country, Fuel Poverty is an Obscenity.

“Given this heartless cruelty in a cold winter, will the Minister now:

“Firstly, end forthwith the forced installation of Pre-payment Meters?

“Secondly, immediately abolish the perverse higher standing charges and tariffs for Pre-Payment Meters and

Finally, as a matter of urgency bring in a social tariff for the poorest and most vulnerable?           

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  1. The text of Kenny MacAskill’s Parliamentary Written Question reads:

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (124166):

Question:
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the number of households who were left without power in the last 12 months as a result of running out of credit on their prepayment meter in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland; and if he will provide a breakdown by (i) local authority and (ii) parliamentary constituency. (124166)

Tabled on: 16 January 2023

Answer:
Graham Stuart

Ofgem only holds data for smart meters in prepayment mode that have disconnected, Ofgem does not hold data for traditional prepayment meter disconnections. One of the benefits of smart prepayment over traditional prepayment meters is the ability for energy suppliers to know when customers have gone off supply, and so offer timely support. Smart prepayment also enables consumers to track their balance easily, so they do not unknowingly run out of credit.

Ofgem holds data for Q1 – Q3 2022. The number of smart meters that disconnected at least once across this period are provided in the table below.

Q1 2022Q2 2022Q3 2022
Scotland49,87468,64666,305
England399,975511,692518,881
Wales60,72579,79774,947

Ofgem does not collect data at the local authority or parliamentary constituency level.

  1. The text of Kenny MacAskill’s Parliamentary Written Question reads:

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (124164):

Question:
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent representations he has received on (a) the forced installation of prepayment meters and (b) the practice of self-disconnection by those households unable to afford to load credit onto prepayment meters. (124164) 

Tabled on: 16 January 2023

Answer:
Graham Stuart

The Department receives a number of representations about a range of issues relating to energy markets.

The energy regulator Ofgem has rules in place that restrict the force-fitting of a prepayment meter (PPM) on customers who are in debt, except as a last resort. Forcible installations of PPMs for the most vulnerable customers have been banned by Ofgem since 2017.

Ofgem rules also require energy suppliers to take all reasonable steps to identify prepayment meter customers who are self-disconnecting and provide appropriate support.