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Published in December 2015, The poor pay more: Prepayment meters (PPM) and self-disconnection revealed the distressingly high scale of self-disconnection taking place. There have been positive developments in energy policy and energy suppliers’ practices over 2016 and into 2017, yet this new data from a follow-up survey shows that self-disconnection remains a pressing issue, affecting one in two (53%) PPM users who are in financial difficulty.

This update aims to help inform discussions that continue to take place across the energy industry, providing an update from a follow-up survey of over 900 clients conducted over Autumn 2016. The briefing also explores the level of digital exclusion amongst prepayment customers, and raises concerns about the implications of this in the context of the increasing digital demands on energy consumers. 

Key findings 2016/17:

  • Those with one or more key support issues were 20% more likely to use a PPM.
  • PPM users were 50% more likely to be limiting their energy use than those using other payment methods, and more likely to be doing so severely.
  • One in two PPM users had gone without heating for at least one week over winter. 8% of PPM users had not used their heating at all over winter.
  • Those that had not self-disconnected had commonly self-rationed in other areas, with seven in ten sacrificing meals.
  • One in five PPM users do not have Internet access, not even through public services.

‘There were quite a few times when I couldn’t put the gas on in the winter. We sat in jumpers and blankets with no heating or hot water. One time, my lass needed the toilet and she told me the water in the toilet was frozen!’

Christine, CAP Debt Help client

Join in the discussion on Twitter using #ThePoorPayMore @CAPuk

Contact our external affairs team:
01274 761985

Contact our press team:
01274 761924

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