It's Your Money Campaign
Energy suppliers are routinely allowing consumers to build up excessive levels of credit in their accounts. People are often unaware that this is even happening due to confusing bills and poor communication from the energy companies.
On top of this, suppliers then increase the monthly direct debit payments taken. Often when folk try to withdraw credit from their accounts, as they’re entitled to do, the companies make it difficult for them or even flat-out refuse.
This is not right. It’s your money, not theirs.
When I started this campaign, I was inundated with letters, emails and calls from constituents who had experienced this. It was clear this wasn’t a niche issue and some of the extreme cases made for very grim reading indeed. One constituent had unknowingly built up a credit balance of around £2,000 and still had her monthly payments increased. When she asked for the money (thats, her own money) back, the supplier initially declined before eventually returning most of it to leave a more modest balance in her account.
Her story is not, by any means unique. Yes, it is an extreme example but not as uncommon as you may think. During the Cost of Living Crisis, for many, literally every penny counts. It is, therefore, unthinkable that folk should have to chase up they energy provider for access to their own cash.
Work I am doing:
This is an ongoing campaign and bringing about change will not be easy, but it’s a fight I am not going to back down from. I’ve spoken with UK Government ministers, raised the issue multiple times in Parliament, written to all of the main energy suppliers and more recently met with directors of Ofgem. Progress is sometimes frustratingly slow, but I have been encouraged that there has been admittance from some that something’s got to give.
The campaign has gathered cross-party support and will not be stopped until we see meaningful change. One of the most obvious solutions would be to immediately return funds when credit outweighed a given percantage of monthly energy bills automatically. This would admittedly take time to implement across the board, but would go a long way in ensuring folk aren’t paying too much considering their energy useage.
I also hosted a Westminster Hall debate on the matter, my opening speech from this debate is below.
Share Your Views:
Have you built up a large credit balance in your energy account and been denied access to it? Maybe you’ve had your direct debit payments hiked without proper consultation.
If so, I’d love to hear from you to inform the next stages of this campaign: https://us13.list-manage.com/survey?u=79400f257882be15026d47c7a&id=d41b3a94a0&attribution=false
Recorded in February 2023.
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