Prepayment customers ‘self-disconnect’ as energy bills soar

The number of people unable to top up their prepayment meter increased eightfold last month, warns a charity

Big Zero Report 2022

The number of energy customers who decide to self-disconnect their prepayment meter is on the rise.

That’s according to statistics supplied exclusively to the BBC by Citizens Advice, which show that the first four months of the year have already seen more cases of self-disconnection, people being unable to top up their prepayment meter, than during the whole of 2021.

The charity forecasts there will be more than 1,300 cases by the end of April.

It notes that’s an eightfold increase compared to the same period last year and the highest-ever level of this type of customer behaviour.

Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “We’re seeing a sharp increase in people contacting us because they’re at risk of losing their energy supply because they can’t afford their meter payments.

“This can have devastating consequences: parents with no hot water to bathe their children; families sleeping in their coats; and people with chronic illnesses who can’t keep warm.

“The warning lights could not be flashing brighter and the worst is yet to come. The government must bring in more support to help people cope with this mounting crisis.”

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