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SNP MSP Urges For Energy Bill Automatic Warning

>> 4 January 2012

BIG SIX COMPANIES DON’T HAVE SAFEGUARDS

SNP MSP Maureen Watt has written to the UK’s big six energy companies urging them to put safeguards in place so customers are alerted when something is wrong with their bill.

The MSP for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine says all of the UK’s leading energy suppliers should have automatic warnings in place that would lead to unexpectedly high or low energy use being investigated.

The MSP for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine says customers should be alerted when they are billed for an amount markedly different from their previous bill or energy consumption for the same period the previous year.

Ms Watt said:

“My understanding is all six of the UK’s leading energy suppliers currently have no automatic warning system in place – and given mistakes can easily be made and such a bill could be incorrect, this is something that needs to be urgently revised.

“Incorrect bills cause great distress and hardship for those involved, particularly for those in fuel poverty.

“If a vulnerable individual was overcharged, they may not have the knowledge or confidence to ensure it is swiftly rectified.

“Instead they may unnecessarily suffer in silence – potentially disregarding heating and food, to ensure they are able to pay a bill they believe to be correct.

“Alternatively, a bill with a charge far lower than expected could result in the savings being spent on other parts of their household budget leading to financial difficulties when the error is spotted.

“I have written to all of the big six energy companies asking them to introduce a system where if a customer’s consumption in a bill varies by a certain threshold up or down in comparison to normal usage, it is automatically flagged up and investigated prior to a bill being sent out.

“With winter weather now upon us, and heating a necessity for all, I believe this is a matter which deserves to be treated with the utmost urgency.”

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