Protection call for Mobile Home owners on gas and electricity bill rip-off

2012 Awst 30 9:55 AM

Hundreds of people living in mobile homes around Wales believe that they are being exploited by site owners, who are levying illegal charges for selling on gas and electricity to residents.

Mr. Black has been researching the plight of Mobile Home residents across Wales, as his Proposed Members Bill on Mobile Homes (Wales) is drafted for the National Assembly. This has highlighted how much some Mobile Home residents are charged for everyday utilities.

On most of these sites the mobile homes are not separately metered and site operators apportion bills and pass on charges to residents. In a number of cases it has come to light that administration charges are added to these bills. In one case residents were charged 20% VAT despite the correct rate being 5%. In a recent survey of Mobile Home residents conducted by Mr. Black, nearly a third (242) of the 811 people who replied and answered the question, said they did not think are charged fairly for utilities.

"In preparing my draft bill on mobile homes it has become evident that some of the practices of site operators with regards to utility bills are questionable and need to be challenged by the proper authorities," said Mr. Black. In some cases site operators charge mobile home residents £15 extra a month on top of their actual electricity usage, £5 to read the electricity meter and a £10 standing charge. A lot of residents felt they could not judge if they were being charged fairly because they have never received the detail of their bill or an invoice.

"In some cases we have advised residents to take these issues to trading standards but clearly there is a general problem on mobile home sites where residents are being exploited. I am hopeful that the new licensing regime that will be introduced by my Mobile Homes (Wales) Bill will give local councils additional tools to tackle these abuses. In the meantime though I have written to the energy regulator: Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) asking them to investigate.

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