Energy suppliers have agreed to stop forcing prepaid meters to be installed in vulnerable customers’ homes, the government said.
The move comes as an investigation reveals that debt collectors working for British Gas broke into the homes of vulnerable customers.
An undercover investigation by The Times found that Arvato Financial Solutions, a company used by British Gas to pursue debt, I broke into my house according to the devicedespite signs that children and disabled people lived there.
The paper also claimed that Arvato Financial Solutions employees were given bonuses for meeting prepaid meters.
Last week, energy regulator Ofgem asked suppliers to suspend mandatory installation of prepaid meters and review their processes for dealing with delinquent customers.
Grant Shaps, then business secretary and now energy secretary, also reviewed their practices and took action to help vulnerable households and ensure that prepaid meter installations are truly a last resort. I wrote a letter to my energy boss claiming to improve the
The data behind prepaid meters
In response to the intervention, all energy suppliers have now pledged to stop the mandatory installation of prepaid meters, the government said.
Meanwhile, Ofgem executives say British Gas will have to pay compensation to customers with forcibly installed prepaid meters if an investigation confirms they were installed incorrectly. I warn you not to.
Akshay Kaul, Ofgem’s director of infrastructure and supply security, said customers could request removal of upfront payments and claim compensation, depending on the outcome of the regulator’s investigation.
“If a prepayment meter is installed incorrectly, it’s not compliant,” Kaul told LBC.
“If that’s the final conclusion of the investigation, consumers have the right to uninstall if they wish, and they have the right to seek compensation, and that’s what they ask of suppliers in such situations.”
“We don’t want to bias the investigation. It is very important that we follow due process, collect all the evidence, and consider whether this is an individual case.”
When asked about whether energy suppliers are ‘required’ or ‘told’ to compensate their customers, Kaul said: Of course, we want our suppliers to respect the wishes of those customers.
“In the event of damage to the consumer, the standard enforcement principle is to seek compensation from the supplier and to provide the consumer with relief for the damage caused.”
Since the undercover investigation, British Gas has announced it has stopped mandatory installation of prepaid meters and has apologized for how it has treated some customers.
British Gas owner Centrica said in a statement that “all warrant activity” had been halted and that protecting vulnerable customers was an “absolute priority”.
Warrant activity involves a company applying to the court for a warrant to install prepaid meters.
Centrica boss Chris O’Shea also launched his own investigation, speaking to Sky News’ business presenters. Ian King He said he felt “disappointed, furious and angry” and had “no excuses” for what the undercover investigation revealed.
Arvato Financial Solutions told the times It “always acts compliantly with regulatory requirements” and the findings did not represent the company’s views or official guidance regarding its interactions with customers.
A spokeswoman told the paper, “We deeply regret any verbal or other types of misconduct by individual employees.
https://news.sky.com/story/energy-companies-halt-forced-instalment-of-prepayment-meters-12807348 Energy companies will stop mandatory installation of prepaid meters.political news