Ofgem Calls For Fair Treatment Of Vulnerable Customers In Debt
In a recent report by Ofgem, it has been detailed that, despite a reduction in the number of debt-induced disconnections in the past year, the accrued debt amount has increased by 7% and 5% for electricity and gas respectively within the same period. This has caused the regulator to raise the concern that, amongst some suppliers, there is inadequate identification and pragmatism when it comes to debt.
As a result, Ofgem has requested that suppliers take proactive steps for the early detection of debt and the implementation of tailored repayment schemes based on the customer’s ability to pay. With some suppliers allowing an average of £600 in debt to accrue before debt repayment measures are brought about, Ofgem has introduced a new rule under which suppliers identify and take extra steps to ensure the fair treatment of vulnerable customers. Ofgem has undertaken to closely monitor the situation to ensure long-term measures reduce overall debt amounts.
Against the backdrop of free priority services like free gas safety and meter readings, Ofgem detailed the progress made in some areas through assistance of customers in their day-to- day energy management. However, the vulnerability created by situations akin to the accrual of debt often prevents these customers from engaging in the energy market.
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