According to Ofgem, customers were not offered free gas safety checks, vulnerable customers were not given the help they needed, and prepaid meter users were not properly identified and supported. Due to "serious shortcomings" identified in five suppliers' procedures, the industry regulator said energy suppliers must do more to help vulnerable consumers this winter.
Ofgem Tells Itself;
We operate under a legal framework established by the Great British Parliament. This framework sets out our responsibilities and empowers us to achieve our goals.
The government is responsible for policy making for the energy sector and making any changes to this legal framework. We have a very specific role to help with policy issues such as decarbonisation, and we must work within that framework. We do not set the general industry policy. However, we can point to areas where we believe there are significant policy gaps that have an impact on consumers.
According to Ofgem, customers were not offered free gas safety checks, vulnerable customers were not given the help they needed, and prepaid meter users were not properly identified and supported.
While some good practices have been identified, all 17 suppliers still need to improve.
According to Ofgem, the worst energy companies were Good Energy, Outfox, SO Energy, TruEnergy and Utilita.
If a supplier has serious flaws, it means that “a significant part of its procedures and policies are incomplete or inadequate, or that its data has not produced good consumer results.”
E (Gas & Electricity), Ecotricity, Green Energy UK, Octopus and Shell have some moderate flaws.
This indicates that the supplier “does not have some of the rules or processes that we expect, or that staff access to training and guidance is not at the level we think is necessary.”
Ofgem continued: “We may have also discovered some poor performance data.”
Minor flaws were all found at British Gas, Bulb, EDF, E.ON, Ovo, Scottish Power and Utility Warehouse. This indicates that Ofgem did not find any findings that would cause serious concern.
Ofgem Retail Director Neil Lawrence said: “This comprehensive review has shown that suppliers need to do more to support consumers; from eligible customers who missed free gas safety checks to businesses that did not identify vulnerable customers to be offered obvious support in the Priority Services Register.
“Although we have witnessed very good practices in some parts of the industry, we can see that there is still much to be done. We appreciate the cooperation of suppliers and the steps taken so far.
Many valuable efforts to support customers have been developed recently, and the majority of suppliers take the protection of vulnerable customers seriously.
While the participation in this Market Compliance Review and the fact that some improvement activities have already been initiated was positive, Mr. Lawrence continued: “We observed a number of shortcomings across the board that need to be addressed quickly.”
This winter is going to be extremely difficult for everyone, so customers need to make sure they get the help and support they need.
“Our message to suppliers today is clear: Be proactive. Inform your customers about help options, then provide them.
According to Ofgem, suppliers are actively participating in the process and have been moving quickly to implement the necessary changes since receiving their preliminary ratings in October.