After damaging reports about how prepayment meters were installed in the homes of vulnerable customers, all UK energy suppliers have pledged that they will stop installing them.
The Guardian reported that major energy suppliers, including Ova, Scottish Power and E.ON, had stopped reclaiming prepayment meter customers’ debts. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which is being reorganized into three new departments, stated that all energy companies had agreed to cease the practice.
Many people have fallen into debt as a result of rising energy prices.
According to the department, it asked suppliers to explain how they supported their customers. It also requested that they list how many warrants they have applied for to enter people’s homes and what they plan to do to correct any wrongdoing.
Grant Shapps the energy security secretary, said that most suppliers were not doing enough to correct their mistakes and that stopping forced installation was only the first step in ending the “abhorrent practice” of forcing prepayment meters into the homes of vulnerable customers.
He stated that people would be shocked and appalled by the fact that prepayment meters were installed against their will in vulnerable homes. Suppliers are just beginning to correct this horrible behaviour.
“Since these reports were published, I have asked suppliers for answers and Ofgem has responded: All suppliers are now stopping forced installations, magistrates no longer sign off warrant applications, and Ofgem is raising their game when it is time for their reviews.
“But I am angry by the fact that some have freely moved vulnerable customers onto prepayment meters without any plan to take remedial actions where there has been an infringement of the rules.” “I have received only half of the picture, but it doesn’t offer enough action to redress those who were so cruelly treated.”
Prepayment meters should not be forced into the homes of vulnerable customers. This was already stated in previous rules. This week, Lord Justice Edis (one of the UK’s most respected judges) directed magistrates to cease approving warrants for forcing prepayment meters to be fitted.
The Guardian reported on Sunday more than 35,000 warrants were issued by magistrates in the first year. This was despite concerns that were raised prior to Christmas, that warrant requests were being approved without any scrutiny of whether vulnerable energy customers were at risk.
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