UK gas waste increases in minimum meter refills after public outcry | Money

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Britanique Gaz has removed an increase in the minimum recharge amount for its prepaid energy meters after public outcry over this decision which, according to opponents, has forced some vulnerable families to choose between eating and heating.Over 90,000 people have signed a petition calling on the UK’s largest energy supplier to reverse its decision to increase the minimum top-up from £ 1 to £ 5, which was implemented on January 1 of this year.

A group of 38-degree activists, who helped lead the campaign, said the hike meant homes that relying on small refills to ration their heating costs between paydays were forced to choose between staying warm and buying food.

British Gas, which recently revealed its worst full-year profits for 2019, justified the increase by pointing out that only a small number of its prepaid customers would regularly recharge their meters with less than £ 5 at a time. The supplier added that its competitors at Ovo Energy and Bulb Energy have set a limit of £ 5 to keep costs low.

Sarwjit Sambhi, the head of British Gas, said that "customers are always at the heart of the decisions we make" and "the aim of this decision was to reduce our costs in order to provide our customers with the best value".

"But I am happy to change this decision as we continue to look for ways to help our most vulnerable customers," he said.

About 91,000 members of the public signed a petition put in place by Preet Kaur Gill, Birmingham MP Edgbaston, who called on British Gas to reverse its decision. Hundreds of people also contacted the supplier to share their belongings.

Trevor, a British Gas customer from Stafford who signed the online petition, said: "I am disabled and therefore count on the benefits to cope. Sometimes you just don't have this fiver to recharge the meter - because you don't get paid before the end of the week - so you can't. It means choosing between things like food and heat - and in cold weather it's even worse. "

Gill said the British Gas turnaround was "a vital victory for the thousands of people affected by British Gas' decision to increase the minimum prepayment."

"Our campaign has revealed the scale of the fuel poverty crisis under this government. Much remains to be done so that no one has to choose between eating and heating their home. I urge other energy suppliers to do the same, "she added.

Ruby Earle, a 38-degree activist, said, “It shows the power that ordinary people can have when we come together. "

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