Home Business News Ofgem will allow energy firms ‘to break into homes and limit energy supplies’ this winter

Ofgem will allow energy firms ‘to break into homes and limit energy supplies’ this winter

8th Jan 24 2:26 pm

Ofgem has said that EDF, Octopus and Scottish Power now have permission to forcibly fit prepayment meters (PPMs) ending the ban.

The energy watchdog said once conditions are met the three firms can restart “involuntary” PPM installations

The three energy firms must make at least 10 attempts to contact their customer before they will be allowed to fit a PPM and undertake a welfare visit.

Jonathan Bean, from Fuel Poverty Action, said, “We are horrified that Ofgem has taken the cruel and dangerous decision to allow Scottish Power and others to break into homes and limit energy supplies in the middle of winter.

“This will leave many people traumatised and cold.”

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As a result millions of Brits could end up switching off their heating to reduce soaring energy in an attempt to save money.

Ofgem’s director general for markets, Tim Jarvis, said, “Protecting consumers is our number one priority.

“We’ve made clear that suppliers must exhaust all other options before considering forced installation of a prepayment meter, and consumers can help themselves by reaching out to their supplier as soon as possible if they think they won’t be able to pay their bill, so payment options can be discussed.

“Our rules on when, and how, a prepayment meter can be installed are clear and we won’t hesitate to take action if suppliers act irresponsibly.

“While nobody wants to see the practices uncovered last year repeated, we also know that allowing households to build up unsustainable amounts of debt isn’t the right thing to do either.

“Many households value the control that these pay-as-you-go meters offer over bills and how they can help with budgeting, and suppliers must also be able to recover debt to make sure those costs don’t end up on everyone else’s bills.”

He added, “We will continue to work closely with consumer groups and suppliers to make sure households understand their rights when it comes to prepayment meters, and will regularly review our rules to make sure they are working to protect the most vulnerable.

“I’d also strongly encourage consumers to make sure their personal details and circumstances are up to date with their supplier, so they can be taken into consideration if or when payment problems arise.”

Citizens Advice chief executive Dame Clare Moriarty said, “Last winter, we all saw that the rotten core of debt collection practice in the energy sector was not just a case of one bad apple – the rules were simply not being followed.

“As the temporary ban on force-fitting comes to an end, people need reassurance from suppliers that they won’t be wrongly forced on to a meter when there’s clear evidence they shouldn’t be.

“Ofgem must proactively monitor suppliers and act swiftly if there are any suspicions rules are not being followed.”

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