Ofgem announces new rules to protect struggling energy customers

The new rules, which will come into effect on 15th December, aim to support customers struggling to pay their energy bills and provide extra help for prepayment customers

Ofgem has announced a series of new rules for energy suppliers in a bid to protect customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills.

Under the new rules, suppliers have to offer emergency credit to prepayment customers who find it difficult to top up because of a mobility issue, self-isolation or a temporary inability to afford it.

Energy suppliers will also have to offer extra prepayment credit for vulnerable households, a move that could offer them extra space while working out alternative arrangements to pay.

These requirements aim to decrease the number of prepayment customers who go without energy or self-disconnect after running out of credit on their meter.

The regulator will also require suppliers from 15th December to put customers in debt on realistic and sustainable repayment plans.

Philippa Pickford, Director of Retail at Ofgem, said: “Suppliers have stepped up to the challenge of supporting their customers during the Covid-19 crisis, especially those in vulnerable situations.

“Customers who are struggling to pay their bills should contact their supplier as soon as possible. The extra protections we have announced today will help ensure they get some breathing space this winter.

“Alongside our wider programme of support for vulnerable customers, Ofgem has also capped and reduced default tariffs so these customers always pay a fair price for their energy.”

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