“Suppliers given benefit of doubt on forced prepayment installations”

Courts should check warrant process for instalment of prepayment meters says ex-minister

Big Zero Report 2022

Energy companies have been given the benefit of the doubt in installing prepayment meters at struggling customers‘ homes.

Asked about her opinion on why it has taken so long for policymakers to learn about this practice after The Times’ investigation, Caroline Flint, former minister for Housing and Planning, said: “Because I think that assurances from energy companies have been listened to, possibly more than the examples that lots of other people have given about bad practice.

“And within that, they have been given more than the benefit of the doubt, in terms that they will follow the regulations because it is quite clear that the rules around seeking warrants for these forced installations make it very clear that they shouldn’t be done where there are vulnerable.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Ms Flint, who is also chairwoman of the government-sponsored fuel poverty advisory committee added: “We might need new laws. I think the courts need to also look to themselves on this as well because again from reports that I’ve read, it does suggest that the information that is being given by the energy companies to the courts, which is to assure them that they have gone through the processes of trying to work with these families and showing due diligence, that due diligence hasn’t been followed.

“I think there is a question about how these warrants seem to be waived through.”

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