Higher energy bills for cash and cheque customersEnergy suppliers ignore new rules on payment fees

25 September 2009

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Customers who pay energy bills by cash or cheque are still being charged more than those paying by direct debit, claims a consumer group.

Consumer Focus said five out of six of the UK's top energy suppliers are imposing higher charges despite energy regulator Ofgem introducing new guidelines to stop the practice.

The news comes in the same week as Which? revealed that the big six suppliers of gas and electricity - Npower, British Gas, EDF Energy, Eon Energy, Scottish Power and Scottish & Southern Energy - received some of the worst customer satisfaction scores Which? has seen across all industries this year. 

Paying over the odds for energy

New Ofgem rules, brought in at the beginning of the month, were designed to reduce the difference between methods of payment.

Zoe McLeod, from Consumer Focus, told the BBC: 'We do have concerns that despite the introduction of these licensing conditions, consumers who pay by cash or by cheque on receipt of their bills continue to pay over the odds.'

Mervyn Kohler, from Help the Aged, said: 'It's a minefield finding out what the different tariffs are and an awful lot of customers haven't got the energy or technology to actually go and look for the best deals.'