Prepayment Counter: Companies are given a deadline to decide what to do

Energy companies were given a deadline by the government on Tuesday (February 7) to decide what action to take on customers who have had a wrongly installed prepaid meter.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps has accused Ofgem of being “scrutinized” by taking it at face value energy Company bosses told them and didn’t listen to the customers.

It follows an investigation by The Times which showed how vulnerable customers – including disabled and mentally ill people – were coerced into doing so British gas switch to the allocation meter or have the gas turned off.

An undercover reporter for the newspaper worked for debt collection company Arvato Financial Solutions and accompanied agents who were deployed court orders Gaining access to customers’ homes to forcibly install the meters.

The Argus: Vulnerable people have been forced onto prepayment meters by British GasVulnerable people have been forced onto prepayment meters by British Gas (Image: PA)

Measures that energy companies could take could include awarding compensation.

What did Mr Shapps say about that?

In a statement, Mr Shapps said: “I am appalled to see vulnerable customers grappling with their issues energy bills their homes were invaded and prepayment counter installed when there is a clear obligation on suppliers to provide them with support.

“They need to refocus their efforts on their consumers, the British public, who are at the bottom of this despicable behaviour.

“I’m also concerned that regulators are too easily ripped off by taking what energy companies tell them at face value.

“You also need to listen to customers to make sure this treatment of vulnerable consumers doesn’t happen again.”

In response, Ofgem said it shared Mr Shapps’ “shock” at the findings of The Times’ inquiry and that it had ordered it British gas cease all warranty activities until it can demonstrate compliance with its standards and requirements.

Customers who are moved to a prepayment counter is intended to be a last resort, and vulnerable persons should not be forcibly brought onto one. Prepayment Counter: Companies are given a deadline to decide what to do

Fry Electronics Team

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