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Anger over token changes

PUBLISHED: 16:58 02 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:44 02 March 2010

SUFFOLK Sub post masters are today up in arms at a move by energy giant Powergen.

They say Powergen's decision to stop selling electricity prepayment tokens at post offices is losing them trade and upsetting their customers.

SUFFOLK Sub post masters are today up in arms at a move by energy giant Powergen.

They say Powergen's decision to stop selling electricity prepayment tokens at post offices is losing them trade and upsetting their customers.

Customers will now have to use PAYzone or PayPoint agents.

Jon Richardson, regional secretary of the national federation of sub postmasters and sub postmaster of Brunswick Road post office, Ipswich, said yesterday's changeover has caused upset.

He said: "I have had lots and lots of phone calls from sub postmasters because they have had to break it to their customers that they can no longer get their tokens at the post office. I have had one lady crying on the counter.

"It is bad news for us as sub postmasters. The government moving over pensions to bank accounts has affected us badly anyway and this is another nail in the coffin.

"It is going to make things far worse for our customers because they are not going to be able to use their local post office.

"In urban areas, it might not be so bad, but it will be worse in rural areas. And even in urban areas, there can be quite big gaps between PAYzone agents."

Janet Brooks, sub postmistress for Fore Street post office, Ipswich, said: "I think it is disastrous.

"People are really confused and they don't know where to go to pay. They like to do everything in one place and in the same place they get their money.

"And there aren't always PAYzone or PayPoint agents near where they live.

"I should imagine it will also make quite a difference to our business. It will definitely lose us trade."

Lesley Andrews, 43, of Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, was used to buying her prepayment tokens from the post office.

She said: "Old ladies get their benefit from a post office and they want to get their prepayment tokens from there as well.

"They have to go to the post office anyway and now they have to make an extra trip."

Powergen said the 256 post offices selling prepayment tokens in Suffolk will be replaced by 158 PAYzone and PayPoint agents. This should increase to 200 by the end of the month.

A Powergen spokeswoman said: "We have taken this step with customers' best interests at heart and any customers with concerns should contact us.

"While the average opening hours of post offices is 37 hours per week, our new sites will be open an average of 90 hours a week."

She added that 90 of the 256 Suffolk post offices had only been selling four pre-payment tokens a day.

A spokeswoman for Post Office Ltd said it was "disappointed to be losing their business".

To find out where your nearest PAYzone or PayPoint agent, call 0800 183 1551.

N What do you think about no longer being able to buy Powergen prepayment cards from post offices? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk


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