Does the Prime Minister understand Direct Debit?

The government’s just announced a massive, billion-pound push towards energy efficiency. A key tenet of its plan’s a massive advertising campaign to get people to switch to Direct Debit repayments as it’ll save them money.

Now while I agree with this, after all it’s a top point in my Compare Gas & Elecriticity guide, since it’ll cut your costs by 10%; I never say it without warning people to do a meter reading first, thus ensuring they’re getting accurate bills, something I hope the government will do too. Yet even if they do, one problem’s still being overlooked…

There’s no right to a fair Direct Debit

The rate you pay and the Direct Debit amount you’re charged are completely separate things. So you can be charged less for energy because you shift to DD, but see the monthly amount you pay increase because the energy supplier sets it at a high rate.

If you’re overpaying, then at the end of the year you’ll get a rebate, but in these economic climes, that loss of cash flow is a big hit to many people. This is one of the most regular complaints on the forum’s Energy board, and something top of my list at my recent feedback meeting with the regulator Ofgem.

To launch a massive push for Direct Debit that doesn’t address this issue is a real shame and could leave Mr. Brown out in the cold when people feel their bills have gone up rather than down.

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