Criticism of Age Uk and E.ON prompts halt to £6m tariff deal

Age UK was slammed for promoting expensive E.ON tariff to elderly. Picture: PA
Age UK was slammed for promoting expensive E.ON tariff to elderly. Picture: PA
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E.ON and Age UK are to temporarily stop offering a branded energy tariff following criticism of their financial tie-up.

Age UK was criticised for exploiting its position as a trusted charity after it was claimed E.ON paid it £6 million a year in return for the charity pushing expensive tariffs to the elderly.

An E.ON spokesman said: “This decision has been reached on a mutual basis and both organisations retain confidence in the tariff offered to customers.

“However, due to continued speculation regarding the partnership, both organisations feel it is right to pause and reflect on the best way for both parties to achieve their shared goal of helping customers.”

The change comes into effect today.

Details of E.ON payments to the charity were contained within Age UK’s annual accounts.

It is claimed the charity had been recommending a special E.ON tariff in leaflets and booklets, stating it was “great value” and “helps save energy and money”.

The charity has been paid at least £6 million every year, receiving around £41 for every person that signed up, it was reported.

But it was claimed that the tariff, on average, costs pensioners £245 more than they would pay on E.ON’s cheapest deal.

E.ON has confirmed there was a “commercial relationship” between it and the charity but the supplier said its tariffs were competitively priced, and Age UK has rejected any allegations of wrongdoing.

Existing E.ON customers on the tariff will be unaffected.

Customers wishing to change supplier will be able to do so without charge.

Age UK said: “Our partner E.ON has informed us that they cannot continue with the current two-year fixed promotional tariff. This would mean we could no longer offer a market-leading two-year fixed tariff.”

Age UK launched the special tariff with E.ON in December 2013. It was the “cheapest of its kind”, offering “significant savings” compared with other fixed two-year and standard variable tariffs, the charity said. Talks with E.ON to agree the best way forward are continuing, Age UK added.