The Conservative Party will unveil a scheme that aims to cut energy bills for consumers without bank accounts later today (August 22). The scheme will offer low earners the same discounts as customers paying by direct debit.
The plans will be announced by Shadow Chancellor George Osbourne and Shadow Secretary for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Alan Duncan. Under the scheme, consumers would be able to pay their power and utility bills using Post Office Card Accounts, which Osbourne says could save about 4 million people up to £100 a year.
The Tories say around 8 million people in the UK either do not have a bank account or withdraw their cash weekly. Consumers that do not pay directly from bank accounts tend to miss out on discounts from energy companies.
Osbourne also says the plans could help some Post Offices that have recently been threatened with closure.
The move comes at a time of soaring wholesale energy prices and surging energy bills. Yesterday, utility giant E.on announced it was raising its electricity prices by 16% and its gas prices by 26%. Scottish & Southern Energy later hiked its prices by 29% for gas and 19% for electricity. Rivals EDF and British Gas have also increased their prices in the last month.