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Fuel Bank Foundation welcomes greater protections for vulnerable customers

October 19, 2020

Ofgem has confirmed plans to strengthen protections for customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills this winter. Following a consultation in June, Ofgem is introducing new licence rules for suppliers from 15 December.

Suppliers will be required to offer emergency credit to customers struggling to top up their prepayment meter. They will also have to offer extra prepayment credit for households in vulnerable circumstances to provide more breathing space while working out alternative arrangements to pay.

These requirements will help reduce the number of prepayment customers who go without energy or “self-disconnect” after running out of credit on their meter.

We welcome Ofgem’s plans to introduce greater protections for customers struggling to pay their energy bills and extra help for those who prepay. This is something that Fuel Bank Foundation has been advocating for some time and will benefit those who don't have access to emergency credit and therefore come to us for help. Emergency credit can provide immediate respite that avoids the risk of self-disconnection. Some suppliers provide a £50 standard emergency credit to all customers, where others offer none. Ensuring all suppliers provide this facility will give some surety for customers, and act as a safety net for some of the most vulnerable in society. In addition to financial support, there needs to be targeted, coordinated and easy-to-action advice given to customers to mitigate the situation whilst credit is being used and to avoid them requiring emergency credit again in the future.
Matthew Cole, Chair of Trustees at Fuel Bank Foundation

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