The money saving expert previously said customers who topped up their prepayment meters before the price cap rise on April 1 would be able to save on gas and electricity – because they would pay the cheaper rate. He told concerned energy customers if they topped up on a non-smart prepayment meter before the April 1 price cap rise, they would be charged the cheaper rate.
However Mr Lewis said MoneySavingExpert received written confirmation of the prepayment meter rates from all major firms except Scottish Power.
He has now said, on behalf of himself and Money Saving Expert, he’s “sorry” as it emerged the bulk-buying hack won’t work on all suppliers after all.
He reiterated his concerns when speaking as a witness to the Business, Energy and Industrial Committee about his fears surrounding rising energy prices
He told the committee the energy hack “was of course the advice and guidance we’ve been giving” to pre-prepayment customers ahead of a price hike that will see customers on meters pay around £ 708 more for gas and electricity.
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He added MoneySavingExpert had “had it confirmed by Ofgem and all companies apart from Scottish Power which said it would have a debt on top”.
The consumer champion 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 percent.
“That’s not mathematically sound and it’s a breach of license conditions.
He continued: “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.”
The money saving expert said he hopes to have “watertight” information about prepayment meters by lunchtime today.
In the post, he added: “I’m gutted to have now discovered that in some cases that information was duff. The fact is on gas meters – it seems no one had worked out that it couldn’t work (we’ve had apologies from some firms that told us it would).
“On behalf of both me and MSE, I’m sorry. Diligent research is what we pride ourselves on.”
Gareth Kloet, the energy spokesperson at the comparison site GoCompare, said: “We would urge all bill payers to take both gas and electricity meter readings on March 31 and make sure you submit these to your supplier.”