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Haflon praised for energy debate victory

Politics / Wed 5th Feb 2014 am28 10:23am

HARLOW MP, Robert Halfon was praised last night for a successful debate on energy prices.

The debate was opened by Mr Halfon and concluded by Chatham MP, Tracey Crouch. The two hour debate was peppered by praise from all parties.

Mr Halfon said: “In the House of Commons today, I held a debate about my campaign on energy companies who charge their customers extortionate admin fees for simply not paying their bills by direct debit.

“I started this campaign after I heard from a local constituent that his elderly mother was going to be charged an extra £63 by the Co-op Energy Company, unless she switched to pay her gas and electricity bills by Direct Debit.

“Upon investigation, I found that the majority of energy companies across the UK also impose these charges, or instead discount bills substantially for those paying via Direct Debit. Of the 32 energy companies surveyed, 17 of them charged more to customers who were not paying by Direct Debit, with average annual charges amounting to £114 (£41 for electricity and £73 for gas).

I secured the debate last week after my Parliamentary Motion on the issue was signed by 177 backbench MPs from all different political parties.

Among the contributions to the debate were:

Conservative MP Alok Sharma said “Ofgem should define more carefully what “proportional” charges are”.

Labour MP Kate Hoey said: “If someone has a bill, they should not be charged any extra for paying in cash.”

Fellow Labour MP Yvonne Fovargue added: “45 per cent of people do not pay for their energy by direct debit.”

Labour MP Margaret Ritchie said: “Vast price differentials are unacceptable between those who pay by direct debit and those who don’t. Today’s motion offers a measure that would resolve one degree of inequity in energy bills.”

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