Ofgem hints at further action against “inappropriate” prepayment practices

The regulator will investigate whether suppliers take all reasonable steps before forced prepayment installations

Big Zero Report 2022

New stricter rules will soon be introduced to tackle the rising numbers of forced prepayment meter (PPM) installations across the UK.

Jonathan Brearley has written a letter to Business Secretary Grant Shapps setting out a plan for further measures the energy regulator will introduce soon.

Mr Brearley said Ofgem would conduct further Market Compliance Reviews (MCR) on suppliers’ practices on PPMs.

The investigation will look at how suppliers assess whether a PPM is suitable before any action is taken such as remotely switching to PPM or installing a PPM under warrant.

Ofgem will also prioritise data reporting to monitor possible issues raised by the MCR and review existing licence conditions.

This potentially means that if an energy supplier does not have a “reasonable” PPM guidance and process in place, it might lose its licence.

Jonathan Brearley said: “The unprecedented cost of living crisis has left consumers facing the hardest winter in decades, with millions struggling to afford the cost of energy and other essentials.

“This has already led to the highest increase in energy debt we have seen in over a decade (currently £2.5 billion) and suppliers taking action to prevent consumer debt getting worse by installing PPMs”

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