Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Prepayment meter ban doesn’t go far enough – Climate Cymru

15 Sep 2023 3 minute read
Image: Rui Vieira / PA Media

Emily Price

Ofgem’s announcement that energy suppliers have been banned from forcibly installing prepayment meters (PPMs) in certain households “doesn’t go far enough” according to climate change campaigners.

On Wednesday (September 13) the energy regulator announced it was banning prepayment meters from being installed in households with people over 75 years old with no support, and in homes with children under the age of two.

The ban will be enforced by the regulator’s code of practice which will be made mandatory.

All energy companies signed up to the voluntary code in April after evidence emerged of forced installations having a severe impact on struggling customers.

Currently, no suppliers are carrying out involuntary installations and face severe penalties if they do unless they meet strict criteria set by Ofgem.

Rules

Under Ofgem’s new rules, which come into effect on November 8, suppliers must ensure they are acting in a fair and responsible way with involuntary installations used only as a last resort.

Initially, the no-install rule applied to customers aged 85 and over with no other support in their home, or households with residents with severe health issues including terminal illnesses or those with a medical dependency on a warm home.

Ofgem said dropping the upper age limit to 75 and adding homes with very young children will ensure more people are protected this winter.

However, in a response sent by Climate Cymru to Ofgem over the summer, the organisation said the “only solution” to protect all vulnerable households would be a “legally enforceable ban by court order on smart meter transfer”.

Climate Cymru also recommended that more households should be included under Ofgem’s “vulnerable” criteria, including people suffering with mental health illnesses and those dependent on powered medical equipment.

Climate Cymru’s Warm this Winter campaign initiated a petition in the Senedd earlier this year calling for an inquiry into PPM’s.

The network has formally provided evidence to the inquiry and the First Minister indicated the view of the Welsh Government is that enforced instalment of PPMs should be banned completely.

Code

Bethan Sayed, Campaigns Coordinator for Warm this Winter said: “Moves to tighten up the rules around the forced installations of PPMs are welcome, but the code of practice doesn’t go far enough.

“Ofgem are again failing to protect the most vulnerable in society, who are struggling to pay inflated energy bills. They made decisions on who to protect based on financial interests of energy firms, not expert evidence of who can be harmed by lack of heating, hot water and electricity.

“Evidence is clear that children under five need energy for their health and wellbeing. Ofgem’s decision won’t stop all families with children aged 5 and under from being forced onto a prepayment meter.

“We need a permanent ban on mandatory PPMs, whether that means physically installing them in people’s homes or remote switching a smart meter.

“When so many people and charities responded to the Ofgem consultation asking them to go further in their definition of vulnerable customers, it’s clear that they are failing in their statutory duty to protect consumers’.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
3 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
A.Redman
A.Redman
6 months ago

Traditional key meter went blank after 20/30;second power cut.Contacted company who would only attend if no power.If engineer had to come to property they would fit a smart meter regardless! Continued topping up meter but unable to see it registered on screen.until 6 weeks later when scene came back on showing £200+ credit!, was sent texts about engineer coming .Texted.back twice, sent e-mail declining smart meter plus fond to can centre cancelling need for engineer which was confirmed as a cancellation.Then received text to say engineer arriving in 4 minutes to install new smart meter! I met him and showed… Read more »

A.Redman
A.Redman
6 months ago
Reply to  A.Redman

Predictive text!!!

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
6 months ago
Reply to  A.Redman

Dreadful the way energy companies are allowed to rip us off with impunity, break into our homes and cut off our supply of energy on a whim. It can only get worse once AI takes hold. Ofgem are a waste of space and money. Feeble at best

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.