A radical reform of the energy supply market is needed to protect customers as the industry rapidly transforms.
That’s according to Citizens Advice, which says the government and Ofgem must work together to ensure all energy customers can benefit from new technologies and business models entering the market.
The consumer watchdog warns customers in vulnerable circumstances are particularly at risk as the need for decarbonisation accelerates the rate of change.
It suggests new ways of buying energy will be increasingly available to householders and small businesses, such as consumers being able to trade power locally or using time-of-use tariffs – this raises the possibility of people being left behind as everyone else progresses.
The watchdog says the upfront costs of installing new equipment like battery storage can prove too expensive for many people, notes many customers don’t feel confident in using online services and suggests some billpayers are wary of appliances like smart meters accessing their data.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “The government’s recent adoption of a net zero carbon emissions target means big changes in how we access energy are on the way.
“New innovations in the way we heat and light our homes will bring benefits for many. The danger is that some of the most vulnerable in society end up excluded from these exciting developments.”