UK energy companies follow Ofgem’s new guidelines

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Energy companies have been granted approval to resume force-fitting prepayment meters in people's homes nearly a year after it was suspended.
Energy companies have been granted approval to resume force-fitting prepayment meters in people's homes nearly a year after it was suspended.

Energy companies have been granted approval to resume force-fitting prepayment meters in people’s homes nearly a year after it was suspended.

EDF, Octopus, and Scottish Power have been authorized by Ofgem, the industry regulator, to resume meter installations after meeting specific requirements. 

This move follows a scandal wherein British Gas agents were found improperly installing meters, particularly in the homes of vulnerable individuals, sparking public outrage and an investigative uproar.

Background on Meter Installations

Previously, energy companies could forcefully install meters in homes facing unpaid bills. The scandal surfaced after revelations of British Gas agents entering vulnerable individuals’ homes against Ofgem regulations. 

This led to an overhaul of regulations regarding meter installations.

New Regulations and Protections

Under the new rules set by Ofgem, meter installations, especially prepayment meters, cannot occur under specific circumstances:

  • Homes with occupants over 75 years old, unless another resident is younger
  • Households with children under the age of two
  • Residences where someone suffers from a terminal illness or certain conditions exacerbated by cold homes

Any violation of these rules could result in severe penalties for energy companies, including fines, mandatory meter reinstallation within 24 hours, and compensation to affected households.

Ofgem’s Focus on Consumer Protection

Tim Jarvis, Ofgem’s director general for markets, emphasized the priority of consumer protection.

 Ofgem urges consumers facing payment challenges to contact their energy supplier promptly to explore payment options, prioritizing early communication to avoid forced meter installations.

Calls for a Complete Ban

Campaigners advocate for a complete ban on forcibly fitting prepayment meters, calling for government intervention to enact such a ban.

Scottish Power’s Approval and Subsequent Cancellation

Scottish Power initially received approval to fit meters but later revoked the warrants following concerns that mothers with infants under two were affected. 

Final approvals for Scottish Power, EDF, and Octopus have been granted by Ofgem after meeting the necessary criteria.

Debt Levels and Proposed Energy Price Cap

Ofgem is considering raising the energy price cap by £16 for households with average gas and electricity usage from April to March 2025. This increase aims to address rising unpaid debts among energy consumers, currently totaling £2.9 billion.

Gary Monroe

Gary Monroe is a seasoned contributor to the Los Angeles Business Magazine, where he offers insightful analysis on local business trends and economic developments. With a focus on Los Angeles' dynamic commercial landscape, Gary's articles provide valuable perspectives for entrepreneurs and business professionals in the city.

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