Engaging with suppliers and industry
The EHU works to bring about change in the industry for the benefit of consumers. We see the impact of suppliers’ practices on their customers first-hand. This allows us to contribute to industry consultations with real-life examples and influence stakeholders across the energy industry. We also take part in bi-monthly meetings with Ofgem to highlight compliance concerns and consumer detriment.
Our casework fed into Ofgem’s consultation on prepayment meters installed under warrant, which led to the introduction of licence condition 28B in January 2018. Previously, customers in debt to their supplier having prepayment meters force-fitted under warrant were liable for costs of up to £900. This was pushing consumers into further hardship. From January 2018 a cap of £150 was introduced to limit warrant costs, and installations were banned entirely in exceptional cases for the most vulnerable consumers.
EHU case studies were also included in the Ofgem reports Vulnerable consumers in the energy market: 2019, Vulnerable consumers in the energy market: 2018 and Vulnerable consumers in the retail energy market: 2017.
An example of our engagement work with suppliers
Noticing an increase in the number of self-disconnection cases over recent years the Extra Help Unit started to monitor these cases. Since we started sharing examples of good practice, many suppliers have been reviewing the way they help consumers in this situation.
Our analysis of self-disconnection cases has fed into the Citizens Advice good practice guides on this topic. These have been shared at our quarterly Supplier Liaison meeting forum. Now suppliers have a benchmark when developing their own policies around self-disconnection.