Ofgem consults on smart prepayment plans

A consultation on Ofgem’s proposals for smarter prepayment plans has been launched. The regulator said smart prepayment is a “key focus area” and expects the measures to help achieve the […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A consultation on Ofgem’s proposals for smarter prepayment plans has been launched.

The regulator said smart prepayment is a “key focus area” and expects the measures to help achieve the “right consumer outcomes”.

One of the proposals is to switch a smart prepayment meter to credit mode when consumers switch suppliers as stakeholders believe there could be a risk, in very specific scenarios, of a customer going off supply when switching.

With the installation of smart meters, Ofgem believes it will improve a number of key functionalities for consumers.

For example, it will be possible to offer emergency credit for both electricity and gas and alerts can be sent in case of low credit or high energy usage.

Ofgem is therefore proposing to start monitoring suppliers’ use of such functionalities through its existing Social Obligations Reporting (SOR).

It stated: “Monitoring will allow us to understand if consumers have access to these smart prepayment benefits, to identify quickly if there are any issues or concerns and to act on these as needed.”

The regulator believes smart meters can “positively transform” the experience of prepayment customers.

It added: “Customer service can be significantly improved, consumers can enjoy far greater convenience and the cost of prepayment relative to other payment methods can be reduced.”

The consultation closes on 23rd October.

Earlier this year Ofgem said it would review “forced installation” of prepayment meters.