Poorer people should pay no more for their domestic energy supply than others. This message was today sung to the tune of Relight My Fire outside Centrica HQ, the home of British Gas (pictured), by members of East London Citizens (TELCO), part of national community organising organisation, Citizens UK, who want to see a parity of tariffs across all consumers.
Calling for a meeting with British Gas CE Mark Hodges, CUK wants the most vulnerable energy consumers, those on prepayment meters, to be charged at the same tariffs as other users.
In a letter to Mr Hodges, Citizens UK leader, Revd Rosemia Brown, Area Dean of Hackney, said:
“I’m sure you’ll agree with us that the most vulnerable in society should have the same chance as everyone else to pay their bills and manage their finances. Many of our members are prepayment meter customers who really struggle to keep up with their bills. We welcome the CAP on prepayment meters brought in until 2020, as well as the good work British Gas does to support vulnerable customers. However, we feel there is more that we could do if we worked together.”
Those on prepayment meters are often financially vulnerable and must accept costly metering as a precondition of being supplied energy. This means those with the least to spare are charged more for heating and lighting than their better-off peers who receive bills!
British Gas took home profits last year of more than £500 million, some of which CUK says could be used to support their most vulnerable customers.
Revd Rosemia Brown attended the lobby and explains why:
“Many members of my congregation are suffering at the injustice of the terrible charges of prepayment meters. The cost for many is unbearable. Many pay over £300 more per year than others! One of my parishioners had to choose whether to feed her 3,4 and 6 year old children, or whether to heat them. What kind of justice is that? And who carries the cost? I do! They come to me and say: ‘How do I cope?’ And we as the church end up paying for the meters. This is not ok! This is why I am here today. Ready for justice.”
British Gas has contacted CUK and a meeting will be arranged for later in April.