Energy UK has today launched a new Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances to explore how standards of care and support could be improved.
The Commission will, in the coming weeks, publish a call for evidence and will hold a series of hearings around the UK to hear from the broadest possible spectrum of stakeholders – from consumer groups, those representing the elderly and people with disabilities, experts on financial vulnerability and mental health charities among others.
Furthermore, drawing on the work of the Commission, Energy UK will be separately developing a new Vulnerability Charter to build on existing voluntary commitments and go further to support customers most in need.
The Commission will be independently chaired and will be comprised of commissioners from across the business, charity and consumer advice communities. The final make-up of the Commission will be decided by the chairman.
Last year, Energy UK set up a dedicated vulnerability group and worked with the Money Advice Trust to look at vulnerability and mental health. A guide was produced to help identify and support consumers and provides practical tools for frontline staff to use with consumers in a range of vulnerable situations.
Launching the Commission today is an important next step in an ongoing drive to improve customer service, consumer engagement and to ensure energy suppliers are meeting the needs of all their customers.
Lord Whitty, Chairman of the Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances, said: “Vulnerability of all kinds present a range of challenges for the energy industry and I’m pleased to have the opportunity to take on the role of Chair of the new Commission to explore how energy suppliers, and wider sectors both public and private, can best serve, support and protect customers in vulnerable circumstances.”
Energy UK will publish a Call for Evidence to seek submissions from the widest possible range of organisations including but not limited to charities and businesses that have experience working directly with people in vulnerable circumstances.
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Meanwhile, energy MPs will publish their pre-legislative report on the government’s planned price-cap on gas and electricity bills tomorrow.
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee held a series of evidence sessions where they questioned Claire Perry MP, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, Dermot Nolan, OFGEM Chief Executive, and representatives from some of the Big Six energy companies, small and medium-sized energy companies, consumer bodies and the Competitions and Markets Authority.
12 Feb 2018