Most prepayment meter users 'cut back on spending to pay bills'

The number of customers on prepayment meters who cut back on spending in other areas was higher than those using other payment methods.

Most prepayment meter users in Scotland ‘cut back on spending to pay bills’, YouGov poll suggests iStock

More than 80% of people on prepayment energy meters reported cutting back on at least one area of spending to pay energy bills, a new poll suggests.

Research done by YouGov on behalf of Consumer Scotland – dubbed the energy affordability tracker – found 83% of those reliant on the pay as you go method of energy supply were forced to cut back.

This is compared to 69% of customers using other payment methods.

Meanwhile, 53% of those on the meters reported cutting back on food, compared to 33% who pay through other methods.

Prepayment meters have come to the fore in recent months after reports energy companies were installing them without permission from the customers.

Speaking to 1,621 Scottish adults between November 28 and December 13, the poll also found some 68% of people were rationing energy in some form in their house, a rise of 16% from a similar study last spring.

Meanwhile, 42% of the customers said they could not afford to heat their homes to a comfortable level, a 31% increase since last spring.

To combat energy price volatility, the independent agency said, the energy price guarantee should continue at its current rate of £2,500 for at least another three months.

Grace Remmington, an energy policy manager, said: “Many consumers continue to be concerned about their ability to afford their energy bills and the wider cost of living.

“Support schemes have prevented the crisis deepening in the short-term, but many consumers are still struggling to afford their essentials, including energy costs.

“More can be done to protect these consumers including maintaining the energy price guarantee until June and the development of targeted social tariffs.”

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