Today Duncan asked the Rt Hon Dr Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, about the Warm Home Discount Scheme and Winter Fuel Payments for North Norfolk pensioners this winter.
In addition, following a consultation in June, Ofgem is introducing new licence rules for suppliers from 15th September, strengthening protections for customers struggling with energy bills this winter:
- Suppliers will be required to offer emergency credit to customers struggling to top up their pre-payment meter, many of whom are likely to be in vulnerable circumstances. This could be because they temporarily cannot afford to top up, or get to their local shop to top up, because of a mobility issue or the requirement to self-isolate.
- Suppliers will also have to offer extra pre-payment credit for households in vulnerable circumstances, to provide breathing space while working out alternative arrangements to pay.
- Suppliers will be required to put customers in debt on realistic and sustainable repayment plans. This means suppliers will have appropriate credit management policies, make proactive contact with customers, and set repayment rates based on ability to pay. Many suppliers already have this in place, but making it a formal licence requirement will ensure more customers are helped.
Philippa Pickford, Director of Retail at Ofgem said:
Suppliers have stepped up to the challenge of supporting their customers during the Covid-19 crisis, especially those in vulnerable situations. Customers who are struggling to pay their bills should contact their supplier as soon as possible. The extra protections announced today will help ensure they get some breathing space this winter.
Alongside our wider programme of support for vulnerable customers, Ofgem has also capped and reduced default tariffs so these customers always pay a fair price for their energy.