Ellesmere Port & Neston MP, Justin Madders has called for a parliamentary debate on energy standing charges, after being contacted by a constituent who is charged over £50 per year more than other customers because she does not have a bank account.
In a parliamentary question to the Leader of the House of Commons, David Lidington MP, Mr Madders revealed that his constituent, Mrs Jones, an E.ON Energy customer had a standing charge of 14p per day applied to her account because she cannot pay by direct debit.
Describing the practice as “unfair and penalising,” he called on the Leader of the House to agree to establish a debate to discuss the issue further, arguing that people who do not have bank accounts are often some of the poorest people in society.
The Leader of the House refused to grant a debate and suggested that the issue could be taken up in a question to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary.
Commenting, Justin Madders MP said:
“I have already asked E.ON to reconsider this this punitive policy, which effectively amounts to penalising people for being poor. I’ll continue to pursue unfair practices like this, which are completely unjustifiable.
There are a number of reasons why people may be unable to open a full bank account, including not having identification such as a driving licence or a passport and not being able to afford to apply for one.
People without access to a bank account face all kinds of extra costs including higher energy bills, which can create a cycle of financial difficulties and debt. Big energy companies and banks should have an obligation to break this cycle instead of profiting of those least able to pay.”