The energy industry is to explore how standards of care and support for vulnerable customers could be improved.
Trade body Energy UK has launched a new Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances, which will be independently chaired and comprised of commissioners from across the business, charity and consumer advice communities.
They will consider the different aspects of vulnerability and how they can impact a customer’s ability to engage with the energy market as well as consider how the actions of suppliers, government departments, Ofgem and other stakeholders impact the overall level of care and support for customers in vulnerable circumstances.
The Commission will publish a call for evidence and hold a series of hearing over the coming weeks to get views from consumers groups representing the elderly and people with disabilities, experts on financial vulnerability and mental health charities among others.
Chief Executive Lawrence Slade said: “Identifying customers in vulnerable circumstances and providing the appropriate support customers need and want is a challenge that is not unique to energy companies – across our society, we need to take huge leaps forward in recognising and responding to the impact of vulnerable circumstances. These can be difficult to identify, are often complex and can be temporary or permanent.
“The launch of the Commission is an important further step forward for the energy industry that believes strongly in improving customer service and support of all consumers, particularly those most in need.”
The Commission will publish a report by the end of the year with the recommendations for industry, government and stakeholders.
Energy UK will also develop a new Vulnerability Charter to build on existing voluntary commitments to support customers in need.