Plans to Protect Vulnerable Energy Users ‘Don’t Go Far Enough’

August 3, 2016

Plans for reform outlined by the UK’s energy industry regulator Ofgem don’t go far enough in protecting the most vulnerable consumers and households around the country.

That’s according to Ed Kamm, UK managing director of First Utility, who is concerned that many of the poorest people in Britain will continue paying far more than they should for their energy supplies.

In response to the recently published findings of a lengthy investigation into consumer energy pricing by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Ofgem has said it will introduce a price cap on pre-payment meters, which are seen as a major reason why so many people currently overpay for their energy supplies.

Ofgem has also said it will trial a database service that gives rival energy suppliers an ability to offer cheaper deals to energy consumers who have been left on relatively expensive tariffs for more than three years.

The regulator is hopeful that its reforms will improve competition among energy suppliers and reduce utility costs for thousands and potentially millions of people in the coming years.

Ofgem estimates that its cap on energy meters will save some of the most vulnerable British households around £75 a year.

The cap is set to be introduced from April 2017 and is expected to be remain in place until smart meters can be introduced into homes around the country.

However, First Utility’s Ed Kamm has voiced concerns that Ofgem’s plans to improve competition in the UK energy market and help protect vulnerable consumers don’t go far enough.

“The CMA’s report rightly identified the problem: too many people – some 70 per cent of UK households – are overpaying for their energy,” he said.

“But the proposals put too much onus on the customer, don’t go far enough and the timing of their implementation is baffling.

“We are in real danger of continuing to fuel a ‘tale of two markets’ – helping those who already shop around and doing little to properly help those who are continuing to pay much more than they need to or should.”

If you are struggling to pay your energy bills because of persistent debts then Scotland Debt Solutions may be able to help. You can call any of our offices in Scotland directly to arrange a free and confidential consultation.

John Baird

Insolvency Adviser

Tel: 0800 063 9250

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