Business

Nearly 100,000 prepayment energy meters force-fitted last year

More than 94,000 prepayment meters were installed in homes in Britain throughout 2022, government figures show.

The meters were installed by energy providers such as British Gas, Scottish Power and OVO Energy using court-sought warrants and without customer consent.

Those three providers were behind 70% of installations, the government said, and fitted 66,187 devices under warrant.

The practice of forced installation attracted widespread condemnation and the energy regulator Ofgem began an investigation.

It was prompted by an undercover investigation by The Times, which showed agents for supplier British Gas breaking into customers’ homes, including vulnerable households.

Prepayment meters are pay as you devices that require top up payments to provide gas and electricity to a household. If payments are not made no power is supplied.

Energy providers install the meters to customers who were in debt to avoid them amassing higher bills.

Energy Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Today’s figures give a clear and horrifying picture of just how widespread the forced installation of prepayment meters had become, with last year seeing an average of over 7,500 force-fitted a month.”

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