Campaign convinces gas and electricity providers to change billing practices

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Gas and electricity providers have agreed to change their code of practice following a campaign by the Financial Mail.

Energy minister Mike O'Brien ordered industry regulator Ofgem to launch an investigation into allegations that gas and electricity companies are taking billions of pounds in unnecessary Direct Debit payments.

This move follows a campaign by the publication which saw over 1,000 consumers complaining that energy firms forced them to build up high credit balances be setting Direct Debit payments too high.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Ofgem said that it had a "constructive" meeting with the Energy Retail Association (ERA), which has committed itself to amending its billing code.

"We have told the ERA to come back to us by the end of this month with their proposals. We are giving the industry the chance to resolve this," it continued.

Last week, the Sunday Herald reported that an energy smart meter can help change consumers' behaviour.

The publication asserted that people can use the meters to monitor their gas and electricity consumption and what it is costing

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