Age UK and E.ON are to temporarily stop offering a controversial tariff that critics claimed was ripping off pensioners
A controversial energy tariff set up in a partnership between E.ON and Age UK to provide cheaper rates for pensioners has been suspended.
A statement by E.ON said the gas and electricity supplier will temporarily stop offering the charity branded tariff to new and renewing customers from Wednesday.
Age UK had been accused by The Sun newspaper of recommending energy deals with the supplier which are more expensive than the firm’s cheapest offers.
In return, it was reported that the charity has received around £6 million - which the paper claimed represents £41 for every person signed up - from the firm.
We always aim to give our customers outstanding value for money - Ian Foy, Age UK Trading
Last week Age UK denied the tariff was not the best possible deal for older people.
However, an E.ON statement released today 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.”
Ian Foy, managing director of Age UK Trading, the social enterprise arm of Age UK, added: "We always aim to give our customers outstanding value for money. This decision, prompted by the planned tariff changes, will give us the opportunity to review the current situation."
Age UK has defended its actions, claiming the deals offered were the best ones possible when launched.
A spokesman previously said: "We strongly reject the allegations and interpretation of figures.
"The Age UK fixed two year tariff offers a good deal and was the market leading two-year tariff when launched in January. For example, the Age UK fixed two year tariff is over £100 cheaper than the E.ON Standard Variable tariff and is cheaper than other variable tariffs.
"When customers contact us they are offered a choice of all four E.ON tariffs and many choose the one year tariff or variable option, however many prefer the reassurance of a fixed tariff for two years.
"We have no exit fees so customers can move anytime if they find a different deal. This means they can pick a tariff that best suits their needs. E.ON also offers a free Price Alerts system that lets customers know of potentially better deals as soon as they’re available.
"The long term commercial partnership includes a typical commission to Age UK of £10 for each customer. Financial support beyond this is not linked to customer numbers.”
E.ON customers on existing Age UK Enterprises tariffs are unaffected by the suspension and can continue until their contract end date or move without penalty between E.ON tariffs at any point.