Energy bills: Most suppliers are told to improve support for struggling customers | Business News

The energy regulator has revealed that the majority of the country’s energy suppliers have been required to improve the way they handle customers who are having trouble paying their bills.

Ofgem said a supplier compliance review showed only one company, British Gas, was meeting its obligations and the rest had to step up at a time when households were facing unprecedented bills in context cost of living crisis.

It found that three companies – TruEnergy, Utilita and ScottishPower – had “severe weaknesses” while five – E, Good, Green Energy, Outfox and Bulb – were found to have some problems in support help they provide to their customers.

Ecotricity, EDF, E.ON, Octopus, OVO, Shell, Utility Warehouse and So Energy / ESB Energy were found to have only minor issues that did not require enforcement action.

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Ofgem said Utilita and Scottish Power had been served with a temporary order asking them to take emergency measures.

The regulator said the main failures included companies identifying people with payment difficulties.

It also shows a lack of help being offered to those in need of significant payment plans, while others have a “non-existent” policy regarding struggling customers.

February 8, 2007 photo of a gas stove with a bill from British Gas, whose owner is Centrica, which says it expects to post annual earnings at the top of its targets amid increased calls for taxes on energy companies.  The company said it was driven by "strong" volume in its nuclear and gas production activities.  Release date: Tuesday, May 10, 2022.
British Gas, the UK’s largest supplier, was the only company found to be compliant with Ofgem’s rules

Ofgem chief executive, Jonathan Brearley, said: “We’ve been looking at providers for how they’re helping customers who are having a hard time paying their bills, especially those who are most vulnerable. hurt, and found some suppliers did not meet the standards expected by Ofgem.

“We accept that there is a lot of pressure on energy companies in the market this winter, but the needs of vulnerable customers should be part of their top priority.

“We will now work with companies on where they can improve, and I’m all calling on all vendors to step up to the challenge.”

The regulator made the announcement just days before the government energy price guaranteewill impose a cap on wholesale fees, effective October 1.

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Energy costs ‘shared’

This plan will replace the energy price cap as it will see taxpayers shield households from the worst of raw energy costs expected this winter after the war. of Russia with Ukraine.

Mr Brearley added: “This winter will be challenging, especially for those struggling to pay their energy bills.

“While the government’s support package will provide some welcome relief, it is important that, entering this difficult winter, energy companies prioritize the needs of their vulnerable customers. merchants are having trouble paying their bills.”

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