Everyone is understandably concerned about the latest energy price cap forecast for October 1st 2022. It is forecast to be a scandalous 78% higher than Aprils swinging ~50% rise.
These are eye watering figures and people will be getting themselves into a panic over it. Please try not to. We’ve written about how energy companies are obliged by Ofgem to work with customers to agree repayment plans that are reasonable and realistic.
GETTING CUT OFF
If you are worried about getting cut off and being without any supply at all, try not to be. There are many many steps that need to be taken to get to this most severe of outcomes.
You will be able to prevent disconnection if you contact your supplier and arrange to repay your debt at an affordable rate, either by instalments, Fuel Direct or through a prepayment meter. You must be asked if you want a prepayment meter before your supply is disconnected, only if it is safe to install one.
You WILL GET CUT OFF if you refuse to pay and a prepayment meter cannot be installed at your property for whatever reason.
DISCONNECTION OVER THE WINTER
Certain activities concerning gas and electricity are thankfully regulated by Ofgem. Licences from Ofgem contain conditions that licence holders must abide by. The conditions provide protection for particular groups of customers during the ‘winter months’, which are: October, November, December, January, February and March.
Standard Licence Condition 27 states that your suppler must not disconnect you during the winter months if you are a domestic customer and you are:
- a pensioner living alone; or
- a pensioner living only with other pensioners or children under 18 years old.
Standard Licence Condition 27 also states that your supplier must take all reasonable steps to avoid disconnecting you during the winter months if you are a domestic customer and you are:
- a pensioner;
- disabled; or
- chronically sick.
If your supplier is threatening disconnection of your supply and you are in one of these groups, let your energy provider know straight away.
THE ENERGY UK VULNERABILITY SCHEME
The Energy UK Vulnerability Commitment gives vulnerable customers further protection from disconnection. If your supplier has signed up to the Vulnerability Commitment (not all have BTW), they will not knowingly disconnect you if:
- you are vulnerable;
- your household has children under the age of 6 (or under the age of 16 during 1 October to 31 March); or
- you cannot safeguard your personal welfare or the personal welfare of other members of the household due to age, health, disability or severe financial insecurity.
Check below to see if your supplier has signed up to the Vulnerability Commitment, as not all suppliers have.
ENERGY SUPPLIERS SIGNED UP TO THE VULNERABILITY SCHEME
According to the ever so handy Citizens advice customer service scoring table HERE, the following suppliers are all signed up to the scheme:
Outfox The Market
E (Gas and Electricity)
SSE Energy Services
The following suppliers below, are APPARENTLY NOT signed up to the vulnerability scheme:
Good Energy (no really, obviously not that Good then)
If you can benefit from the protections offered by the Commitment, tell your supplier that you are vulnerable and need an affordable way of paying for your energy supply. Also ask to be put on the supplier’s Priority Services Register, if you have not already done this.
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF VULNERABLE?
Many things can make us vulnerable or put us in a vulnerable situation. You could be considered vulnerable if you:
- have reached your state pension age
- are disabled or have a long-term medical condition
- are recovering from an injury
- have a hearing or sight condition
- have a mental health condition
- are pregnant or have children under 5
- have extra communication needs (such as if you don’t speak or read English well)
- cannot safeguard your welfare or the welfare of other members in your household because of your age, health, disability or severe financial insecurity
- are eligible for the Priority Services Register – a support service for vulnerable people.
You might be in a vulnerable situation for other reasons if your situation isn’t listed. For example, if you need short-term support after a stay in hospital or have financial difficulties. If you aren’t sure, always speak to your supplier or network operator and explain your situation.