Energy customers who were forced into accepting prepayment meters (PPMs) often experienced intimidating situations during the installation process, including instances where bailiffs brought dogs to their homes, according to a recent report by Ofgem.
The findings come as part of Ofgem’s investigation into consumer experiences with PPMs and its subsequent decision to introduce a mandatory code of practice for their installation.
The report underscores concerns related to supplier communication regarding debt and the available options for customers in financial distress.
This includes issues surrounding inflexible repayment plans and affordability challenges.
To compile the report, Ofgem commissioned Savanta to conduct consumer research – this research involved 50 interviews conducted between April and June 2023, involving participants who had acquired a PPM within the previous three years.
One participant, who had been involuntarily moved onto a PPM under a warrant, shared their experience: “A bailiff came with a court order. And dogs and all sorts, there are loads of them.
“The dog patrol van, they aren’t the police, it was some… person, cocky as hell. It felt like [it was just to intimidate me]. I thought, ‘why have they brought dogs up?’ And then the woman that I was dealing with, she talked to me as though I was a baby, like a little kid.”