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E.ON and Age UK have “moral obligation” to recompense older people who appear to have paid too much for deal, Suffolk MP says

17:52 04 February 2016

Dr Dan Poulter speaking in Parliament

Dr Dan Poulter speaking in Parliament

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Energy giant E.ON and pensioner charity Age UK have a “moral obligation” to recompense energy users who appear to have paid hundreds of pounds too much last year, a Suffolk MP has said.

Dan Poulter, a member of the energy select committee, made the intervention ahead of a Charity Commission announcement that it was looking at “any action that might be necessary” following claims that Age UK has been promoting expensive energy tariffs to the elderly in exchange for cash.

The Sun newspaper claims E.ON has paid out £6 million a year to Age UK in return for the charity pushing expensive tariffs to the elderly.

E.ON has confirmed there was a “commercial relationship” between it and the charity but the supplier said its tariffs were competitively priced and Age UK has rejected any allegations of wrongdoing.

E.ON said its current Age UK tariff was the cheapest product of its type in the UK when it was launched in January and customers could switch between products at any time without incurring any costs.

An Age UK spokesman also rejected allegations that the charity has been pushing expensive tariffs and also the “interpretation of the figures”.

The spokesman said: “Age UK has worked with E.ON for the past 14 years, openly and above board, and they have been generous supporters of our charity over and above the number of customers on the tariff.

Age UK Suffolk said it did not have figures for those that had taken up the tariff.

“If people approach us and are interested, we direct them to Eon who then talk them through their options. If an enquirer then takes out this particular tariff then we receive a commission on that, but we don’t have client figures I’m afraid.”

The Sun said it found details of E.ON payments to the charity contained within Age UK’s annual accounts.

It is claimed the charity had been recommending a special E.ON tariff in leaflets and booklets, stating it was “great value” and “helps save energy and money”.

Age UK has been paid at least £6 million every year, receiving around £41 for every person that signed up, it was reported. It is claimed that the tariff, on average, costs pensioners £245 more than they would pay on E.ON’s cheapest deal.

Dr Poulter said legitimate concerns had been raised.

“It is a sad state of affairs because what we have seen is one of the Big Six energy companies has been quietly paying one of Britain’s biggest and trusted charities Age UK to sign their members up to an expensive and costly energy deal.”

Questioned about whether customers should be paid back, he said: ““Absolutely. You have got to trust a charity that is purporting to support and have the best deal for vulnerable older people and that is something I believe E,ON has exploited here and perhaps the charity isn’t that commercially savvy and it hasn’t got the best deal for its customers and I think there is a moral obligation for the charity and E,ON to recompense some of the most vulnerable users, often on fixed incomes and in poor income households.”

The Charity Commission said: “The Commission is aware of concerns raised in the media regarding Age UK’s partnership activities with E.ON.

“The Commission is in contact with both Age UK and Ofgem to determine what regulatory role the Commission might have and any action that might be necessary.”

6 comments

  • Clowe These deals do exist. I am always switching to get something cheaper. You can switch nowadays without getting penalised. I have always had my doubts about Age Uk. Don`t forget NCC gave them £700k to help sort their pension fund out in 2013. That was good of them wasn`t it.

    Report this comment

    Hereandthere

    Friday, February 5, 2016

  • Appears from the report that this looks like yet another prime example of Rip Off Britain. There seems to be a plethora of areas where the citizens of this country are being overcharged and exploited. What is going on ? There are many watchdog organisations who are supposed to represent and protect consumers and their rights . From recent experiences relating to banking, finance, pensions, energy, health services, motor vehicles, holidays, rail travel etc to name but a few it appears that something is radically wrong. Most of these watchdog organisations have little or no power to protect the public, they are merely talking shops. Waste of time, sad state of affairs. The Citizens of the Britain deserve better !

    Report this comment

    Grey Fox

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • Clowe - have you ever tried shopping around? Based on my energy usage for last year my bill could be as little as £425 or as high £859. I know which deal I'll be on next year thanks. Anyway, I've seen lots of coverage of this news, but never the price per kWh of the enrgy used or the standing charges - why is no one publishing that?

    Report this comment

    ITFCrazee

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • No worries, just another example of how financial services and utilities get together and rip us off. Time to overhaul charities and reject the scams

    Report this comment

    Rob44

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • Wasn't it Age UK who were recently named as one of the worst charities for spending on projects. Where were the Trustees when this was going on.

    Report this comment

    Tolly

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • NATIONALISE NOW FED UP OF THESE MPS TELLING PEOPLE TO SHOP AROUND FOR BETTER DEALS WHEN WE ALL KNOW THAT THEY DON'T EXIST!

    Report this comment

    clowe

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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