A DODWORTH councillor has called on the council to do more to help tenants before the ‘winter fuel crisis’ arrives.

Coun Peter Fielding, who represents the Liberal Democrats, raised his concerns at last week’s Full Council meeting.

He asked the council how many Berneslai Homes tenants have prepayment meters installed and what is being done to reduce that number - but no figures were available.

Due to the ‘massive increase’ in household energy costs - which are set to rise even further - those who are on prepayment meters will have to pay more for their energy than those on credit meters, despite them often being the poorest in society.

This led Coun Fielding to ask what is being done to lower the number of meters as many tenants are often left without access to heating and hot water if they cannot afford to top up.

He told the Chronicle: “It is incumbent on the council to do as much as possible to help to reduce the number of residents in the borough stuck on prepayment meters before the winter fuel crisis arrives.

“One way to do this is to help all its tenants to move away from prepayment meters.

“In answer to my question it Coun Robert Frost admitted that the council and Berneslai Homes do not know how many or which tenants are on prepayment meters, making it impossible to target those in need or calculate the cost of a scheme to help tenants. “I believe that at the very least, Berneslai Homes should arrange for prepayment meters to be removed from a property when the tenant leaves so that all new tenants have a credit meter to enable them to seek the best energy deals.

“Research has also shown that tenants on prepayment meters are also more likely to fall behind with their rents, thereby losing the council significant amounts of money.

“I am calling on the council and Berneslai Homes to do more to help their tenants in this crisis.”