Energy prepayment meter customers are being forced to go without food, heat and medicine a new report has claimed.

Data gathered by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has highlighted the difficult financial choices clients are having to make due to the cost of topping up their energy supply.

Alongside case studies from people who are directly affected, findings have shown a link between disabled people and prepayment meters which shows 50% of those seeking disconnection of supply advice also sought advice on disability payments.

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CAS social justice policy manager Stephanie Millar said: “With a prepayment meter, once it runs out of credit, that’s it.

"You have no more heating until you top it up.

“The contents of the fridge freezer go off, and the family can’t use their washing machine. Disabled people who use stair lifts or mobility scooters are unable to charge these.

"Many of the cases we considered for this report show people making difficult decisions about how to allocate their income, which includes people who are reducing essential spending, such as food or rent, to top up their meter."

The report shares the story of one CAS client with health conditions whose power had been off for three days.

He was forced to throw away his insulin because the medicine has to be refrigerated.

A second study revealed a mother who was struggling to keep up with debt on her meter while paying £80 per week to keep the supply on.

She is said to have prioritised feeding her children over herself while coping with mobility issues which require a stairlift.

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Millar continued: “Prepayment meters tend to be used by the most vulnerable people in society, such as those who struggle financially or people who are disabled, this report shows a link between consumers needing advice with disconnection issues from their meters and with disability benefits

“The problems we’ve uncovered in this report are unacceptable and in many cases, these meters have created or exacerbated consumer vulnerability.

"We need governments, energy suppliers, Ofgem and charities to all work together urgently to target help to this particularly vulnerable group of consumers.”

To read the report in full click here.