Tens of thousands disconnect their own power supplies
|bbc.com 11 Oct 2018 at 05:29|
Tens of thousands of the UK s poorest householders are disconnecting their own power supplies, because they cannot afford to top up their meters.
Energy regulator Ofgem said it was so concerned that it wanted further evidence on the scale of the problem.
In the last year, 70,000 people on pre-payment meters "self-disconnected" from their electricity supply for a period of at least three hours, Ofgem said.
About 80,000 people stopped paying for their gas.
While most of those may simply have forgotten to top up their credit - or may have failed to realise they were low - Ofgem said about one in 10 of those on pre-payment meters cut themselves off.
Earlier this year, Citizens Advice estimated that as many as 140,000 householders were going without gas or electricity, because they couldn t afford to top up their meters.
Of those, 56% were left with cold homes, while 35% had insufficient light.
Some 4.5 million households in the UK have pre-payment meters, often because of a poor credit history.
After criticism that they faced higher energy charges than everyone else, the regulator imposed a cap on their bills in April 2017.
The most they currently have to pay is £1,136 a year.
The Ofgem figures were released as part of its annual state of the energy market report, which also found that: