Millions ‘may be missing out on Equality Act protection from energy firms’

Just three-in-ten people with mental health problems had received extra support from energy suppliers, according to new research

Big Zero Report 2022

Just a minority of people experiencing mental health problems are receiving support from essential services providers, including energy firms.

That’s according to a new report by the Money and Mental Health Institute, which suggests around one-in-three people with mental health problems said they were not offered any reasonable adjustments even after informing firms about their health condition.

The survey also shows that just 29% of people with mental health problems have received extra support to meet their needs.

The authors of the report suggest that many energy firms are likely to be failing to meet legal duties set out in the Equality Act.

The Act legally protects people from discrimination and requires firms to give customers with mental health problems extra support.

It is estimated that around nine million people with mental health problems in the UK are likely to be entitled to these legal protections.

The research shows that many people with mental health problems face challenges such as severe ‘admin anxiety’ and difficulties using the phone, which can make it harder to access essential services.

Helen Undy, Chief Executive of the Money and Mental Health Institute, said: “If energy firms ignore their Equality Act duties, they are not only exposing vulnerable people to potential hardship and distress, they are breaking the law. But this won’t be a priority for firms unless they are held accountable for it.

“With so many people facing a bleak year ahead, it’s vital that energy firms and regulators act to
ensure that people with mental health problems can easily access the services we all rely
upon.”

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