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Defects in the 1954 legislation
From anecdotal evidence and experience, it appears that a number of major suppliers have doubts as to the applicability of the 1954 Act. The legislation dates from the period when energy companies were state-owned and supplies were not provided on the modern contractual basis. The legislation as envisaged in 1954 was not designed to accomplish the instalment of prepayment meters, which amount to a change in the terms and conditions of supply. Therefore, there is an argument that the use of a warrant to fit a prepayment meter is not within the powers granted under the Act as envisaged in 1954, and that you can legitimately object to the change in the terms and conditions. Sometimes, energy companies are reluctant to tackle these arguments in court and may withdraw the warrant.
If a warrant application is challenged in court, questions should also be asked about the cost of the application. Some suppliers (or companies acting on their behalf) will add £300 or more for the cost of seeking an individual warrant against one, even though they may be making 10 or more such applications at the same time. The court has discretion with regard to costs. This means that you may ask the magistrates’ court to consider costs and whether they are reasonable. Ofgem has also capped the charges for the installation of prepayment meters to £150.1Condition 28B(3) SLC If suppliers seek to levy large charges and costs, they could be referred to Ofgem or to Citizens Advice consumer service for examination as to fairness.
1     Condition 28B(3) SLC »