Ian Murray MP fears that thousands of elderly residents in Edinburgh are being ripped off by energy companies that charge them higher rates – and has called for fairer pricing for the over-75s.
Currently energy companies offer customers more than 400 different price tariffs, making the process of identifying the best deal incredibly complex.
Elderly customers are most vulnerable to the cold, yet they are less likely to investigate cheaper tariffs or to have access to price comparison sites on the internet.
Now Ian is backing calls for energy companies to be compelled to make sure customers who are over 75 are paying the cheapest tariff on offer for their gas and electricity.
Across the five Edinburgh constituencies it has been estimated this would save 35,000 over-75s as much as £200 off their fuel bills.
Ian, who is Shadow Business Minister for Consumer Affairs, said: “Elderly residents can be really vulnerable to the cold, and yet they are amongst the most likely to be charged the highest tariffs.
“With more than 400 different price packages on offer, we all know how confusing it can be to find the best deal. And it is wrong that the most vulnerable customers in the marketplace should be those who are forced to pay the highest price
“If energy companies are to act responsibly I strongly believe they should move customers who are 75 or older onto the cheapest tariff that they offer for gas and electricity.
“This doesn’t mean they should subsidise the energy costs of this vulnerable group, but simply that they offer this group of customers the same low tariffs that they are offering to others.
“This is a reasonable suggestion that I hope the energy companies will accept – but if they don’t I believe legislation should be put in place to force them to do so.”
In the Edinburgh South constituency alone this is likely to have an impact on 7,377 residents who are 75 or older.
Commenting on the plans, Caroline Flint MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said: “Soaring energy bills are driving up inflation and contributing to the cost of living crisis affecting millions of families and pensioners.
“Labour’s plan to put all over 75s on the cheapest tariff will cut the gas and electricity bills of more than four million elderly pensioners, not through spending more money, but by getting our energy firms to show greater responsibility to their most vulnerable customers.”