New plans could protect vulnerable energy customers

6th Jul 2017

Vulnerable energy customers in the UK will be offered more protection, under new plans announced by Ofgem.

The energy regulator is considering options that include introducing a safeguard tariff for vulnerable consumers which would protect them from overpaying for their energy.

Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem, said: “Protecting vulnerable consumers is a priority for Ofgem. We are committed to ensuring that the more disadvantaged in society are not left behind as we move towards a smarter, more competitive energy market. 

“That’s why we are starting new work to protect vulnerable customers, including the option of introducing a safeguard tariff for them.”

Responding to the announcement, Jo Causon, chief executive of The Institute of Customer Service, said: “With inflation increasing, and customers paying ever closer attention to the bills they pay, it is becoming more challenging to achieve tangible loyalty and advocacy.  The energy companies have a shared need for transparency if they are to rebuild levels of trust that have disappeared in recent years and offer straightforward, seamless experiences as well as empathetic help and advice.

“Our own research shows that customer service and reputation play a key role in why people switch, and who they switch to. One in three consumers say that the customer service they receive would prompt them to switch suppliers, while the same number said that the reputation of companies for looking after their customers well prompts decisions on who their new supplier will be.

“The fact is that many organisations providing essential services should reassess how they manage relationships with vulnerable customers in a way that is ethical, equitable and fair to all.”

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