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Energy suppliers refuse to provide free paper bills

The refusal to provide frequent, free paper bills means an estimated 7 million adults who have never been online are unable to effectively manage their utility costs

Electricity Bill

Keep Me Posted is campaigning for free paper bills for every home which requests them

According to Keep Me Posted, a rapid decline in the number of suppliers automatically providing paper bills is negatively affecting people’s ability to manage their finances.

An estimated 7.1 million adults in the UK have never been online and only a third of elderly people are believed to have ever used the internet, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Only three companies have signed up to Keep Me Posted – Principality Building Society, Wessex Water and Welsh Water.

‘People are having the choice of a paper bill taken away from them’

Chairman of the Keep Me Posted campaign, Judith Donovan, said: “We’re disappointed at the lack of progress. Our research makes it very clear that people are having the choice of a paper bill taken away from them.

“The bottom line is people shouldn’t have to pay for statements to help them manage their affairs.”

Energy providers typically provide discounts to customers who receive digital copies of their bills, although they are obliged to send an annual statement by post.

Two in ten households incorrectly billed

Research carried out by uSwitch earlier this year found that one fifth of homes were incorrectly billed by their energy suppliers in the past two years.

This discrepancy between estimated and correct bills means 39% (or 10 million) households owe their energy suppliers money. The average amount homes owe their suppliers is £146.

Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch, Ann Robinson, said the move to smart meters would eventually put an end to estimated bills. She added that for the moment consumers should provide their supplier with meter readings every three months.

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