Martin Lewis has apologized as his advice about non-smart prepayment meters looks to be void after energy companies backtracked on their earlier confirmation.
The Money Saving Expert had earlier this year told worried energy customers if they topped up a non-smart prepayment meter before the April 1 price cap rise you would be charged the rate on the day you top up until you top up again. Martin said Money Saving Expert received written confirmation of the prepayment meter rates from all major firms except Scottish Power.
But Martin has now apologized through his Money Saving Expert website because he fears the tip won’t work following the backtrack by energy companies and regulator OFGEM. He reiterated his concerns about him when speaking as a witness to the Business, Energy and Industrial Committee about his fears about him surrounding rising energy prices.
READ MORE: Martin Lewis’ warning to anyone who pays energy bills by direct debit
He told the committee the energy hack “was of course the advice and guidance we’ve been giving”. He added Money Saving Expert “had it confirmed by Ofgem and all companies apart from Scottish Power which said it would have a debt on top.”
Martin also warned about “worrying issues” of energy companies increasing customers’ direct debits disproportionately to the price cap increase. He told the committee: “There is no reason to double someone’s direct debit when they’re in credit and the price cap is going up 54%.
“That’s not mathematically sound and it’s a breach of license conditions. I have been very concerned that a number of companies are doing it to improve their cash-flow situation at the expense of their customers, and I would like to see the regulator crack down on that quite substantially. It’s important to remember that there is no competition in the market any more. This is not a market – no one can switch. “
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Although the price hike is set to affect many households, Martin said a lot of people won’t have to the tools to be able to handle the situation. He said Ofgem is under resourced to deal with the number of issues with the market.
He said: “There’s so much going on in the energy market and OfGem is under resourced to deal with the number of companies gone bust and what’s happening in the energy market. The amount of playing fast and loose that seems to be going on is huge right now. “
Martin said he hopes to have “watertight” information about prepayment meters by lunchtime today.
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