Martin Lewis told the committee that buying energy upfront was “naturally the advice and guidance we gave to upfront customers” ahead of a price hike that will see metered customers pay around £708 more for gas and electricity
Credit: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire/REX/Shutterstock)
Martin Lewis has apologized for his advice on unintelligent prepayment meters after energy companies retracted their earlier endorsement.
The MoneySavingExpert founder previously said that customers who top up their prepaid meters before the price cap increase on April 1 could save on gas and electricity – because they would pay the cheaper tariff.
He told concerned energy customers that if they topped up a non-smart prepaid meter before the April 1 price cap hike, they would pay the cheaper rate.
Mr Lewis said MoneySavingExpert had received written confirmation of prepayment meter rates from all major firms except Scottish Power.
But he has now issued an apology via his MoneySavingExpert website after it was revealed that the bulk purchase hack is not working for all suppliers.
He reiterated his concerns when speaking as a witness before the Economic, Energy and Industry Committee about his concerns about rising energy prices.
He told the committee that the energy hack “was obviously the advice and guidance that we gave.”
He added MoneySavingExpert “had confirmed it from Ofgem and all the companies except Scottish Power saying it would have debt on top of that”.
The consumer advocate also warned of “worrying problems” from energy companies increasing customer direct debits disproportionately to the increase in the price cap.
He told the committee: “There’s no reason to double someone’s debit if they have a loan and the price cap goes up 54%.
“This is not mathematically sound and violates the license terms.
“I was very concerned that a number of companies are doing this to improve their cash flow situation at the expense of their customers and I would like to see regulators take some serious action.
“It is important to remember that the market is no longer competitive. This is not a market – nobody can switch.”
Although the price increase will affect many households, Lewis said many people will not have the tools to deal with the situation.
He said Ofgem was not sufficiently equipped to deal with the number of problems with the market.
He said: “There is so much going on in the energy market and OfGem does not have the resources to deal with the number of companies going bankrupt and what is happening in the energy market. The amount of fast and loose play that seems to be going on is enormous at the moment.”
With energy bills set to rise by an average of 54% on Friday April 1st, millions of homes will be asked to take gas and electricity meter readings the day before.
The goal is to make sure you’re getting the latest, cheaper rates for all the energy you’re using by Thursday’s game close. Otherwise your supplier could calculate part of it at the new higher unit prices.
Gareth Kloet, energy spokesman for comparison site GoCompare, said: “We would urge all bill payers to read both gas and electricity meters on March 31st and ensure you transmit this to your supplier.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/martin-lewis-apologises-energy-advice-26552759 Martin Lewis apologizes for energy advice after suppliers reverse price hack