Controversy has hit an older people’s charity which has a presence in Hartlepool.
Dealings between Age UK and energy firm E.On is currently being examined by the Charity Commission and energy regulator Ofgem.
We strongly reject the allegations and interpretations of figures.Peter Whelan
The regulators have launched a probe over claims Age UK has accepted £6m a year from E.On in return for pushing its expensive tariffs onto the elderly.
It is a claim which has been “strongly” rejected by the charity both locally and nationally.
The allegation, made in a national paper, claim the charity recommended a special rate which may have been much more expensive than the cheapest offers from the firm.
Trustee of Age UK Teesside Peter Whelan, which runs Age UK in Hartlepool, said: “Age UK Teesside typically saves older people hundreds of pounds on their annual bills when we help them switch to a better tariff.
“We strongly reject the allegations and interpretation of figures.”
A spokesman for the charity nationally said: “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.
“The past two years have seen much volatility in the energy market and with E.ON’s support we have managed to maintain our level of charitable work over this time. This reflects the strength of the 14-year relationship.”
A charity commission spokesman said: “The Commission is aware of concerns raised in the media regarding Age UK’s partnership activities with E.ON. The Commission is in contact with both Age UK and Ofgem to determine what regulatory role the Commission might have and any action that might be necessary.”
The charity runs Age UK in York Road, Hartlepool which provides help and support for the town’s older people through advice and information services and the provision of activities.