Energy firm makes direct debt pledge

An energy company has introduced a new system that it claims will help customers with their debt management.

ScottishPower has pledged to pay back £1 for every £33 that direct debit clients are in credit on their accounts during each annual assessment.

The move applies to those who automatically pay monthly bills using their bank accounts, on balances between £100 and £500.

“It’s an added bonus for those customers who prefer to remain in credit and avoid falling into debt,” commented director of energy retail Willie MacDiarmid.

The decision comes following criticism from consumer groups that energy companies are using the money accrued from customers’ direct debits to boost their coffers.

Watchdog organisation Which? welcomed the announcement from ScottishPower and called for other providers to follow suit.

Spokesperson Martyn Hocking said that the practice of gas and electricity firms setting direct debits too high “seems incredible”, adding that companies should “play fair with customers”.

By Jamie Price

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