Your excellent editorial (The Guardian view on energy prepayment meters: customers need protecting, 15 January) points out that companies have no reliable means of knowing which of their customers are vulnerable – for example, because they are disabled or have a baby in the household.
There is already a simple and effective scheme in place that lets suppliers know which of their customers are vulnerable older people. The Department for Work and Pensions gives them the names of recipients of pension credit and they then automatically receive the warm home discount.
The DWP also knows which households include a recipient of a disability benefit or of child benefit. They should pass this information on to suppliers, and require them to take a softer approach to debt collection from these households.
For most purchases, paying upfront secures a discount. Why does fitting a pre-payment meter not do so? Does this need to be made law to help those in fuel poverty?