Private landlords using pre-payment meters for utilities in their properties will be among those affected by the latest revelations from the National Housing Federation (NHF).

According to the pressure group, utilities industry regulator Ofgem has overcharged users of these systems by nearly half a billion pounds over the last three years.

The NHF has suggested that many of the people paying for their supplies in this manner could be owed cash and may get the opportunity to claim it back.

European Union (EU) regulations, which were implemented in 2004, state that energy firms can only charge extra for pre-paid meter use if collection costs rise - which does not appear to be the case lately.

NHF chief executive David Orr remarked: "It is an absolute scandal that Ofgem allowed energy firms to overcharge customers to the tune of £460 million and potentially breach EU rules for so many years."

The UK's private landlords will among those able to benefit from smart meters in the coming years if government proposals to get the energy usage indicators put in every home by 2020 are met.

Written by Sarah Field

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