The Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords yesterday where Labour and Liberal Democrat Peers lent their support to the Keep Me Posted campaign and highlighted the importance of paper bills and statements.
The Bill aims to cap energy tariffs for the most vulnerable in society and provide protection by Autumn 2018. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee found that vulnerable consumers were the most likely to be on a standard variable tariff.
Originally proposed in 2013 by the then Labour leader, Ed Miliband MP, the government argue that the Bill will create incentives to increase efficiency, competition and maintain incentives to switch.
Lord Whitty argued that there is a serious lack of understanding for consumers surrounding tariffs. “The method of communication is important; electronic and telephonic communications can disadvantage certain consumers. Fellow Lords may have received the information sent by the Keep Me Posted campaign.”
Independent research, conducted on behalf of the Keep Me Posted campaign by London Economics in 2015, concluded that consumers in receipt of paper bills were more likely to understand information and make better financial decisions when they receive information by post rather than electronically.
The opposition front bench pressed the government as to whether there would be provisions in the Bill to ensure that consumers could receive paper bills and statements at no additional cost.
This is a small step in the right direction for consumer choice and protection for the most vulnerable in society. The Keep Me Posted campaign is proud to be supported by over 100 charitable organisations in the field of vulnerability including the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Age UK and the Business Disability Forum.
We will continue to engage with Peers to amend the Bill to ensure consumers are protected from unscrupulous additional billing fees.