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SARH visits House of Commons to support national prepayment meter campaign

Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) has taken the fight for fairer gas and electricity charges to the House of Commons on Monday, November 23.

SARH attended a reception to help raise support for a National Housing Federation campaign to introduce fairer charges for prepay meter customers.

A customer of SARH, Jean Godwin, 56, from Burton Manor, was also invited to the event as an example of someone who has benefited from fairer prepay charges.

“Some energy providers are causing unnecessary hardship for many people in Stafford and all over the country by charging well in excess of what they should for their gas and electricity,” she said.

“By doing some research I recently switched my gas provider which has saved me £120 a year so the public also need to be aware of the differences between the different suppliers’ charges and how they can save money by getting a better deal.”

SARH is the one of leading organisations that has supported the campaign and Debbie Emmitt, director of neighbourhood services, and Amanda Nicklin, housing choices manager, were the only housing association representatives asked to make a speech at the event.

The speech highlighted the work SARH has done to raise awareness of the campaign, particularly in getting Energy Minister David Kidney MP involved.

“The main objective of the event was to get permanent agreement with the energy suppliers for equal tariffs for customers on prepayment meters. Despite the majority of suppliers reducing their charges this is only a temporary agreement and the fear is that they may return to the inflated charges of the past.”

“Some of our customers don’t have the option of paying for their energy via an alternative method. So if we can raise awareness we hope we can secure fairer charges, saving them money and making their lives more comfortable,” said Amanda.

Linda Gilroy, MP for Plymouth Sutton, who attended the reception, made this statement about SARH in a House of Commons this week:

“I was particularly struck by the work the Stafford and Rural Homes housing association is doing to ensure that any incoming tenant to a new home is encouraged to look at the best tariff for them. Among lower income households, not nearly enough benefit is taken from the ability to switch from one provider to another who will often offer them significantly better tariffs.”

Between 2006 and 2008, millions of prepay customers were charged in excess of the average cost for maintaining gas and electricity prepayment meters by big energy firms.

Now, largely thanks to the campaign, almost all of the major energy firms have sharply reduced their prepay meter charges over the past 12 months helping to save people more than £100million a year.

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