Utilities supplier EDF Energy has promised to provide elderly customers with refunds between the amount they pay for their gas and electricity and the cost of the cheapest tariff.
The announcement came after industry regulator Ofgem hit the company with a record £4.5m fine for misleading consumers as to the potential savings they could make by switching to EDF Energy. However, the firm insists its latest announcement is entirely voluntary.
“'If the most vulnerable and elderly customers are not participating in the market they are not getting the benefits of competition. Our step means that even if they do not actively switch, they will get our best prices,” said EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz.
The energy provider estimates that around 150,000 people will be eligible for an average refund of £40. In addition, eligible consumers who are not currently signed up to EDF Energy’s cheapest gas and electricity tariff will be transferred automatically.
Consumer Focus energy retail head Gillian Cooper welcomed the decision - which applies only to those of state pension age - but warned that there are many younger householders who are also struggling under the burden of high utility bills.