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Extra protections for customers in energy debt a welcome step PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 10 November 2017
Ofgem has today announced a £150 cap on charges for installing prepayment meters under warrant for customers in debt, and has banned charges for the most vulnerable.  

Under current rules, energy suppliers can apply through the courts for a warrant of entry, which allows them to forcibly enter a customer’s property. Additional charges, including the costs of court action, can then be recovered from the customer, along with the original debt.

Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline, said: “Ofgem’s decision is a welcome one as it provides further protection for energy customers who may be in a vulnerable situation. Installing a prepayment meter under warrant is often a traumatic experience which can leave people with a larger debt to repay.

“These new rules provide a strong incentive for all energy suppliers to make every effort to identify and support people in debt.

“We know that many energy suppliers take their duty to treat customers fairly when they fall behind with payments seriously. It is however important that all companies understand their obligations, particularly with regard to customers in vulnerable situations.

“To support energy suppliers, we have produced, alongside Energy UK, a practical guide to help companies identify and support customers in vulnerable situations. We look forward to continuing to work with energy companies to help improve practice in this area.

The Money Advice Trust provides training for companies in identifying and supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances across utilities, financial services, retail and government. The charity has now trained more than 11,000 staff in over 160 organisations.

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