Energy suppliers charging vulnerable customers up to £93 a year to pay by cash or cheque

3 Dec, 2019

03 Dec 2019 Research from auto-switching energy service, Migrate found that energy suppliers are charging customers an average of £87 a year to pay on receipt of a quarterly bill rather than pay monthly via direct debit.

The largest difference between payment options comes from Utility Warehouse, who charge customers £93 a year to pay on receipt of a bill. All ‘Big 6’ suppliers charge PORB customers £86 a year more than those who pay by monthly direct debit.

Customers that choose to pay on receipt of bill will be sent a quarterly bill for the energy that they have used, and will usually have the option to pay online, by phone or by cash or cheque.

Many people, particularly older people, prefer the discipline of receiving a quarterly bill and having the option to pay by cash or cheque to help them manage their budget. And while suppliers typically offer a discount for prompt payment, those who chose this payment method will likely still pay more for their energy than those who pay via direct debit.

While energy customers save an average of £315 a year by migrating their supplier with auto-switching service Migrate, research from the ONS found that 2.6 million people over the age of 75 didn’t use the internet at all in 2018. Meaning that those who are most likely to be paying a premium to pay on receipt of a quarterly bill are also the people least empowered to do anything about it.