November 22, 2017
Last week Ofgem made important changes to standards of conduct for energy suppliers. These are the rules each supplier has to follow to ensure that customers are treated fairly.
The news rules clarify the responsibility energy suppliers have to vulnerable customers and the importance of suppliers ensuring all households have the information they need to engage with the market. The new standards put the responsibility on to the suppliers to decide the best way for them to do it and reinforce Ofgem's expectation that customers should be at the heart of the business.
Energy suppliers will be responsible for monitoring their customers' experience and must apply a range of methods to make sure they are aware of what their customers need.
Focus on Vulnerable Customers
There is a need to be able to identify signs of vulnerability and then steps need to be taken to give those customers extra support and recognise their specific circumstances.
Ofgem has set a new rule that energy suppliers have a special responsibility for vulnerable customers. Ofgem noted that there had been some improvements in supplier conduct towards vulnerable consumers, but they don't believe it is going fast or far enough.
Many suppliers run extra schemes to help vulnerable customers and this is something that Ofgem wants to see more of.
Helping Customers Make Informed Choices
Different consumers have different needs and need information presented to them in different ways. It is the job of the energy supplier to make sure all consumers can quickly and easily find and understand the information that they are after.
Ofgem believes the energy industry currently isn't as good as others at communicating with customers and suppliers need to seriously consider the purpose, channel, content, presentation, volume and frequency of the information that they provide.
Some of Ofgem's toughest enforcement penalties have been a result of supplier failure to meet these Standards, which have been in place since 2013, and the rules now play a larger role in how they regulate supplier conduct.
Ofgem will be watching closely to ensure that suppliers are teaching customers fairly and stand ready to act if they don't.
Posted on November 22, 2017 at 02:44 PM