FROM THE TIMES, Thursday 6th March 2008
The big six energy companies are charging the poorest customers up to £330 a year more for gas and electricity, it emerged last night.
Tariffs for prepayment meters, used typically by pensioners and the less well-off, are up to 45 per cent higher than for internet customers. The industry watchdog branded the practice a £400 million rip-off.
The details came as the Government plans a crackdown on energy companies that take advantage of their poorer customers. Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, is ready to deliver an ultimatum to E.ON, npower, British Gas and other companies in his Budget next week.
The gap between the tariffs has grown after a round of inflation-beating price rises across the sector, despite Mr Darling urging companies to do more to help people on low incomes. The Chancellor will stop short of imposing a windfall tax on their £9 billion profits.