Response: Three energy suppliers to restart involuntary installations of prepayment meters
Energy regulator Ofgem has said that three leading energy suppliers have met its conditions to restart involuntary installations of prepayment meters.
EDF, Octopus and Scottish Power can now resume the practice of involuntary installations of prepayment meters.
All three have met the regulator’s set of conditions, which were introduced following widespread concern around the effects of the practice last year.
These conditions include offering customers whose prepayment meters were involuntarily installed compensation and a return to a non-prepayment meter. Suppliers were also asked to undertake internal audits to uncover which meters were wrongfully installed before February 2023.
Under the new code of practice introduced by Ofgem to protect vulnerable customers, suppliers which restart installations must regularly provide monitoring data to the regulator to ensure any worrying practices are identified quickly.
Before installations can begin, suppliers must also attempt to contact a customer 10 times before they proceed, and they must also carry out a welfare visit in advance.
Bethan Proctor, Community Housing Cymru’s policy and external affairs manager leading on fuel poverty, said: “It is disappointing that some energy suppliers can now restart the involuntary installation of prepayment meters.
“This will have a devastating impact on people on lower incomes, including many living in housing association homes in Wales, who may not have money to top up their meter and risk being unable to heat their homes during the cold winter months.
“In our recent Ends Won’t Meet report we call on UK Government to ensure that suppliers adhere to their licensing conditions, and do not resume the involuntary installation of prepayment meters in financially vulnerable households.
“With energy prices increasing this month, it is crucial that a social energy tariff is introduced and affordable repayment options are provided for those facing energy debt. We encourage anyone living in a housing association home in Wales to get in touch with their landlord if they are concerned about heating their home.”