Energy bills are rising to unprecedented levels and it’s understandably a worrying time for everyone, particularly those experiencing problem debt. We have information about available help with gas and electricity bills and what to do if you’ve fallen into arrears.
We are calling for immediate support from government, regulators and energy companies to help households cope with energy bills, inflation, and debt this winter.
To help those on the lowest incomes, we need to see targeted support that matches the energy price cap rise. We’d also like to see the uprating of benefits brought forward to September and a commitment to pausing unaffordable government debt deductions, which are already a cause of major hardship.
We have written directly to Ofgem, alongside Citizens Advice and Money Advice Trust, to urge the regulator to do more to protect people in energy debt.
As part of this briefing we’re calling for a moratorium on prepayment meter installations due to debt during this crisis, particularly for consumers where there is clear vulnerability or low income (i.e., in receipt of benefits). We are also calling for Ofgem to closely monitor supplier activity in relation to debt repayment.
Consumers should not be asked to pay anything they can’t afford, with token payments used in cases where they can’t afford to repay. Suppliers must prioritise consumer’s ongoing usage and keeping people on supply rather than debt repayments during this period.
Read the full briefing Rising energy prices: Protecting energy customers in debt.
We’d like to see energy firms agree to treat customers fairly, to refrain from asking people to repay amounts they cannot afford and to stop subjecting people to potentially harmful debt collection practices.