OFGEM to review installation of fuel-poverty pre-payment energy meters under court order

Electricity meterThe number of pre-payment gas and electricity meters installed by court order in the homes of UK residents fell by more than 10% last year.

Figures issued by OFGEM – the UK gas and electricity market regulator – have revealed that 97,000 pre-payment meters (almost always installed in the homes of fuel-poverty households) were fitted in 2014.

This is a fall of 14,000 from the 2013 total of 111,000 such installations, which are fitted after the energy supplier applies for a court order. Pre-payment meters prevent consumers from running up energy bills which they are subsequently unable to pay.

 An OFGEM spokesman said: “Installing pre-payment meters under warrant should be used as a last resort by energy suppliers when consumers get into debt. It is a way to prevent a customer from being disconnected. Suppliers can only install a prepayment meter where it is safe and reasonably practical for the consumer to use.”

“Suppliers should do all they can to support customers struggling to pay. This includes the provision of energy efficiency advice, signposting to social support and setting any outstanding debt repayments on the meter at an affordable level taking into consideration the customers’ financial circumstances. Customers struggling with debt should talk to their supplier as soon as possible.

“Suppliers are required to treat customers fairly – so we are looking into reasons behind the increase in the number of PPMs installed for non-payment of debt on a warrant visit.”

Pixie Energy

Pixie logo Pixie Energy is an incubator and a facilitator of strategic research and project work, focusing on energy regulation, policy and markets at the local and national level. Find out more about Pixie Energy here.

Local Energy Matters: Scotland

Local Energy Matters: Scotland is a free-to-download brochure with a focus on energy tariffs in the two Scottish electricity distribution regions, as well news on local energy and low-carbon schemes.

Previous editions can be download here.

Scottish energy market overview

You can read an overview of the Scottish energy market here.

Scottish Government energy feed