Forced installation of prepayment meters is banned

Forced installation of prepayment meters is banned for households over 85 and others

Employees of energy companies are required to wear body cameras or sound recorders to guarantee compliance with the new energy regulator regulations controlling prepayment meter installations.

According to a new code of conduct for prepayment meters from Ofgem, the installation of prepayment meters in the homes of people who are 85 years of age or older, have a terminal disease, or do not have someone to care for them will be prohibited.

People with health conditions like emphysema and sickle cell disease could be worsened by living in a cold home, but they would also be protected from forced installation as they would require a continuous electricity supply for their medical equipment.

As per the existing rules, meters would be prohibited from being installed in the homes of vulnerable customers. However, debt collectors working for British Gas disregarded the rules and forced themselves into the homes of vulnerable customers.

When the incident came to light, the head of British Gas’s parent company, Centrica, apologized for this behavior.

Following the incident, the prepayment meter regulations were updated in collaboration with the government, stakeholders, and industry.

During a review of their procedures for dealing with clients who are in arrears, Ofgem’s suppliers were asked in February to temporarily halt the practice of forced installation.

Prepayment meters allow consumers to top up their payments to provide gas and electricity to their homes. To avoid amassing higher bills, the energy providers install the meters in customers’ homes who are in debt.

If the customer fails to pay the top-up payment, they would be denied power supply. The new rules will provide a £30 credit to households to prevent them from losing power immediately.

As per Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, top-up payments are more expensive compared to paying bills, and at the end of July, this practice will also be terminated.

Throughout 2022 in Britain, more than 94,000 meters were installed across the country, as per the official figures.

On Tuesday morning, Ofgem will make public the entire code of conduct that businesses have committed to abide by.

The new restrictions, however, haven’t lived up to the expectations of certain organizations, as first reported in The Guardian newspaper.

Disability equality charity, Scope, stated: “This process will still allow energy companies to install prepayment meters in some disabled households”.

“We want to see the forced installation of meters and remote switching banned outright for disabled people,” as per the Scope policy manager, Tom Marsland.

- Published By Team Timeswire

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