DELAYS in the installation of smart meters prompted an Elgin councilor to write to the “big five” energy companies.
Elgin City North SNP councilor Jeremiah Fernandes expressed concern to the CEOs of EDF, ScottishPower, E.ON, British Gas and Ovo.
This follows requests from constituents unable to book engineering appointments, with some receiving letters threatening them with a higher rate if they do not have a smart meter installed.
Cllr Fernandes said: “With the energy price cap increasing in October and throughout next year, it is important that Moray consumers can track their energy usage, be able to access lower cost tariffs and that they are billed for the energy they actually use rather than relying on estimates.
“Energy companies are encouraging people to install smart meters, but they are not able to meet the demand and do the work.”
He said some voters had been waiting for more than six months and were getting regular reminders that if they didn’t get a smart meter they would be moved to a higher rate. Yet when they try to comply and make an appointment, they are told there are none available in the area.
Cllr Fernandes said this is causing unnecessary worry for voters at a time when they are under financial pressure.
“I hope a solution will be found as soon as possible,” he added.
On Friday, Ofgem, Britain’s energy regulator, announced that the price cap for average household dual-fuel bills will rise to £3,549 from the current £2,000.
It comes as Ofgem’s CEO warns of the difficulties energy prices will cause this winter and urges the new Prime Minister and new cabinet to provide a further and urgent response to the continuing spike in energy prices. ‘energy.
The increase reflects the continued rise in global wholesale gas prices, which began to rise as the world unblocked from the Covid pandemic and were pushed even higher to record highs by Russia which slowly halted the gas supply to Europe.
The price cap, as set out in the law, imposes a maximum unit price on energy that reflects what it costs to buy energy on the wholesale market and deliver it to our homes. It also sets a strict and modest rate of profit that suppliers can make on domestic energy sales. However, unlike energy producers and extractors, most domestic suppliers currently make no profit.
Jonathan Brearley, CEO of Ofgem, said: “We know the massive impact this price cap increase will have on households across Britain and the difficult decisions consumers will now have to make.
“The price of energy has reached record highs driven by an aggressive economic act by the Russian state. They have slowly and deliberately cut off gas supplies to Europe, which has hurt our households, our businesses and the economy at large. Ofgem has no choice but to pass on these cost increases in the price cap.
“The government‘s support package is helping at this time, but it is clear that the new Prime Minister will have to do more to deal with the impact of the price rises to come in October and next year. We are working with ministers, consumer groups and industry on a set of options for the new prime minister that will require urgent action. The response will need to match the scale of the crisis we have before us. With the right support in place and with the regulator, government, industry and consumers working together, we can find a way through this.
Ofgem also today tightened rules on direct debits to ensure providers set them at the right level, meaning customers only pay for what they need. The changes will prevent suppliers from accumulating excessive credit balances and using them riskily as working capital.
The new price cap level will come into effect on October 1.
Anyone concerned about paying their bill should contact their supplier first. They are obligated to discuss payment plans and refer clients to government and third sector support where appropriate. Ofgem is closely monitoring vendor performance in this area and has told all vendors that now is the time to step up support for customers, particularly those on low incomes or in vulnerable situations.