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Ofgem publishes report on suppliers’ social obligations in 2015
Ofgem has published its annual report on how suppliers supported customers in vulnerable situations and managed debt and disconnection in 2015.
It shows that overall, the number of customers in debt is falling, but the average debt customers owe is increasing (1).
Most suppliers no longer disconnect any customers, and have adopted a variety of approaches to avoid disconnections. However, the report shows that in 2015 there has been an increase in the overall number of disconnections (2). We want all suppliers to get the message that disconnections have to be a last resort.
The number of pre-payment meters (PPMs) installed under warrant is not falling in line with the number of customers in debt (3). This leaves many customers on expensive tariffs and with fewer choices. Ofgem is taking action to cap warrant costs & bring down bills for all PPM customers.
Notes to editors
- The number of gas customers in debt fell from 1,198,000 in 2014 to 1,055,000 in 2015, and the number of electricity customers in debt fell from 1,386,000 to 1,229,000, due partly to falling bills (note that if the customer has a dual fuel bill that single debt will be reported once for electricity and once for gas). However, the average debt has also grown, approaching £600 each for both electricity and gas accounts at the time a customer entered debt repayment arrangements. Some suppliers impose high average repayments for customers in debt, equivalent to nearly doubling average weekly energy costs. Suppliers must take into account the individual’s ability to pay when they set up debt repayment arrangements.
- Between 2014 and 2015 the number of disconnections rose from 192 to 204 for electricity and 41 to 49 for gas. This follows a long term decline that has seen total disconnections fall from 8,384 in 2007 to 253.
- There has been a fall in the number of PPMs installed under warrant, but this has not kept pace with the falling numbers of customers in debt. Nearly 46,000 electricity and 44,000 electricity PPMs were installed under warrant last year compared to 50,000 in 2014 for both fuels.
Ofgem is the independent energy regulator for Great Britain. Its priority is to make a positive difference for consumers by promoting competition in the energy markets and regulating networks.
For further press information contact:
Ruth Somerville 0207 901 7460
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