More suppliers suspend forced prepayment meter installations

EDF has stopped the forced installation of prepayment meters following an investigation into British Gas practices

Big Zero Report 2022

EDF has confirmed it is halting the forced installation of prepayment meters (PPMs).

This follows the publication of a shocking report by The Times that debt collectors used by British Gas broke into homes of vulnerable customers to install PPMs.

Ofgem has asked all suppliers to review the use of court warrants to enter the homes of customers who owe money to their suppliers.

Yesterday, Ofgem’s chief Jonathan Brearley said: “Suppliers need to reassure us that the processes for customers being moved onto PPMs are compliant with all Ofgem rules and, until this is done, we have asked them to pause forced installations.”

It was late in the afternoon yesterday when Business Secretary said EDF confirmed they had suspended the “outrageous” practice of forced installation of prepayment meters following the investigation into British Gas.

Grant Shapps added: “I am now calling all the other energy companies to confirm they are following suit.”

Earlier, Energy Minister Graham Stuart said: “I have asked their (British Gas owner) Chief Executive Officer to report back to me personally on what happened and how he can guarantee these misdemeanours will never occur again.”

An EDF Energy spokesperson told ELN: “If we see signs a customer is struggling, such as a late payment or failed Direct Debit payment, we contact them to offer support and prevent the build-up of debt.  We use a range of methods including email, post, SMS and phone.

“If a customer does not respond and remains in debt within three months of our first contact, we try to visit the customer’s home and find a solution. The visit is also an opportunity to look for any signs of vulnerability and ensure this is recorded on the account.

“EDF only seeks to move a customer to prepayment without their consent as a very last resort and only when we determine it is safe and practical. In 2022, we applied for 13,766 warrants in relation to domestic customer debt and in around half of these cases we took the decision not to proceed once the customer had engaged and we understood their circumstances.

“Throughout this process, customers can contact EDF at any point to request a change of payment method. We will be delighted to hear from them and our advisors will help.”

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