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Good Energy slams Ofgem for ‘premature’ report

Renewable energy supplier Good Energy has slammed industry regulator Ofgem for criticising the way it deals with vulnerable customers.

In a report published this morning (Tuesday) Ofgem told 17 energy firms to make improvements to the way they deal with its most vulnerable customers in the face of spiralling fuel prices.

Ofgem singled out five suppliers as having what it called Severe Weaknesses: Good Energy, Outfox, So Energy, Tru Energy and Utilita. Enforcement notices have already been issued against Tru Energy and Scottish Power, said the watchdog.

The report said poor practice included suppliers failing to read the meters of customers who could not do so themselves, and that vulnerable customers were unable to contact their supplier to top up their meter or to request support credit.

In some cases debt repayment rates were set so high that vulnerable customers self-disconnected – deciding not to top up their prepayment meter when the credit ran out, said Ofgem.

Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley said customers face “pot luck” when calling their energy provider for help.

“Most suppliers take the protection of vulnerable customers seriously and several good initiatives to support customers have been launched recently,” he said.

“While it’s encouraging to see the engagement on this Market Compliance Review, with some improvement actions already taking place, we’ve seen a number of failings across the board which need to be urgently addressed.

“It’s going to be a very challenging winter for everyone, and customers must be confident they are getting the help and support they need.”

But Chippenham-headquartered Good Energy hit back, saying the report was ‘incomplete’.

CEO Nigel Pocklington said: “It is disappointing that once again Ofgem have published a verdict part way through the evidence-gathering process.

“Despite providing Ofgem with extensive information which addressed their concerns, it is regrettable that this publication does not account for this.

“Good Energy has an excellent record of taking care of vulnerable customers – including being independently assessed before joining Energy UK’s Vulnerability Commitment, which aims to continually improve support – and we will be considering our actions off the back of this report.”

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