‘ScottishPower secures warrant for prepay meter installations’

The energy supplier has reportedly received warrants to enforce the installations of PPMs in homes with unpaid energy bills, marking the first such action by a supplier since the British Gas scandal earlier this year

A district judge has granted Scottish Power the authority to enter homes and install prepayment meters (PPMs), as reported by the BBC.

This marks the first instance where energy suppliers have been permitted to forcibly implement such meters in households, since the British Gas scandal that unfolded earlier this year.

The decision comes in the wake of an investigation by The Times newspaper in February, which exposed the energy giant’s use of debt collectors to gain access to the homes of financially vulnerable customers.

Undercover reporters infiltrated a debt-collecting agency and observed agents collaborating with locksmiths to enter homes, with one locksmith expressing enthusiasm for such activities.

The BBC reported that at Berkshire Magistrates Court in Reading, ScottishPower filed 124 applications.

The cases presented highlighted customers with unpaid energy bills, sometimes exceeding £2,000 for both gas and electricity.

Representatives from Scottish Power detailed their extensive efforts to contact these customers through various means, including letters, emails, texts and property visits.

District Judge Samuel Goozee approved all applications, granting warrants for meter installations.

A ScottishPower spokesperson told ELN: “We are working closely with Ofgem to ensure that vulnerable customers are protected and to assure the regulator that our processes – which include independent auditing – adhere rigidly to its guidelines.

“We are only applying for warrants for customers who have refused to engage with us on repayment after multiple attempts, to agree a repayment arrangement that is affordable to their circumstances.

“At every point in the process, we are ensuring that vulnerability and affordability checks are made, in order to support customers with the debt management advice they need.

“The cost of unpaid bills ultimately falls on all customers and the use of warrants to recover debt is a last resort when all other avenues have been exhausted.

“We are committed to adhering to the strict new conditions the regulator has put in place and we will continue to work considerately with customers to help them manage their debt.”

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