Nearly £542k payout for customers wrongfully forced into prepayment meters

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Ofgem launched a Market Compliance Review (MCR) last year to examine involuntary prepayment meter practices in the energy sector, aiming to prevent wrongful installations.

New regulations announced in November 2023 require compliance from all energy suppliers.

Suppliers voluntarily ceased involuntary installations and remote switches, identifying 1,502 customers eligible for £342,450 in compensation.

An additional £200,000 will be disbursed to about 1,000 more customers.

The energy regulator has confirmed that British Gas is not included in this review.

The ongoing review has assessed over 150,000 involuntary installations, with suppliers using various methods to find affected customers.

Compensation levels vary based on individual circumstances – Ofgem plans to provide another update on the review by June 2024.

Customers can claim compensation by contacting their supplier and lodging a complaint, with support available from organisations like Citizens Advice and Advice Direct Scotland.

Additional assistance is available through the Extra Help Unit and Energy Ombudsman.

Responding to figures released by Ofgem on compensation for wrongful forced installations of prepayment meters, Gillian Cooper, Director of Energy at Citizens Advice, said: “In 2022, we estimate nearly six hundred thousand people were forced onto a prepayment meter because they’d fallen behind on their bills. It’s right that suppliers are now working to identify and compensate those affected.

“Anyone who has been impacted by this scandal should contact their supplier, as they may be owed compensation.

“Ofgem must ensure its new rules are working properly. That means they are protecting consumers and being carefully followed by energy companies.

“Suppliers previously committed to remove meters where they have been wrongfully installed in the past. Ofgem must ensure this happens and step in if necessary.”

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