Dawn Butler MP for Brent Central visited local resident, Mr Lascelles Hamilton 71 years old, who was disconnected by his energy provider EDF leaving him without gas and no means of cooking, even though he was paying off his bills through an agreed payment plan.
Mr Hamilton told Ms Butler that he was at home when EDF engineers fitted the prepayment meter, cutting off his gas supply.
It was only when Mr Hamilton went to use his cooker did he realise that he was left without any gas. He found a letter notifying him of his disconnection on his doormat. Mr Hamilton, who suffers from health problems, had no means of switching the gas back on and was left in the cold for a further 48 hours.
He was put at severe risk because of EDF’s callous installation methods. Fortunately he was able to get access to power when he contacted local charity organisation Energy Solutions, who lobbied EDF for assistance.
EDF installed £10 emergency credit on Mr Hamilton’s supply, which was to last him 6 days. When Dawn Butler visited on the seventh day, Mr Hamilton was still without a payment key. Mr Hamilton now faces an effective countdown to a further disconnection when the emergency credit inevitably runs out.
Energy companies have a duty of care to look after all consumers and especially those vulnerable in our communities, sadly this disregard of consumer vulnerabilities are all too common and forcing residents on to these prepayment meters and the highest tariffs simply must stop now.
Dawn Butler MP said “It is a scandal that these big energy companies can forcibly install prepayment meters in homes without any clear checks and processes to determine whether there are vulnerable adults or children living in the home. EDF are in direct breach of their own rules and requirements set by the magistrate courts.
God forbid if this had happened to Mr Hamilton during the cold winter months, the actions of EDF could have had grave consequences.
I will continue to campaign hard on strengthening consumer powers against these forced installations and campaign to end charges and high tariffs linked to prepayment meters.”
Mr Hamilton said “As a pensioner, EDF didn’t care whether I lived or died. I urge everyone to join Dawn’s campaign to put a stop to these rogue energy companies. I have been lucky to get the support of Energy Solutions who are helping me with my case against EDF, they supplied me with a hot plate to heat food and help me take my medication properly, if it wasn’t for them I may have still been without any form of gas.”