Money Advice Trust responds to Ofgem’s new consumer protections

The Money Advice Trust has welcomed today’s announcement from Ofgem strengthening protections for people struggling with energy bills.

The new protections, which come into effect on 15 December, include requirements on suppliers to offer emergency credit to customers struggling to top up their prepayment meter and a requirement to offer customers in debt realistic and sustainable repayment plans.

Joanna Elson CBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline and Business Debtline, said: “Today’s announcement of new protections from Ofgem are welcome and come at a crucial time for millions of households. These measures, which build on the voluntary agreement between suppliers and the government made in March, should help more vulnerable customers this winter.

“No one should face a choice between heating or eating, and Ofgem’s new protections will help reduce this risk at time when households are struggling through the impact of covid-19.

“I am encouraged to see that the regulator is improving support for customers already struggling by requiring all suppliers to offer customers in debt realistic repayment plans based on what they can afford to pay.

“There’s only so much that individual regulators can do, however. The Government’s temporary changes to Universal Credit need to be extended, including maintaining fairer access to Universal Credit for the self-employed beyond November, and making the current temporary £20 a week uplift permanent.”