The impact of COVID-19 means some customers may experience delays in our service and we’d like to apologise if you're affected. We're working hard to ensure all cases are fully investigated and we'd like to thank you for your patience as we continue to adjust to these challenging times. You should Contact Us as soon as possible if your personal circumstances have changed or your services have been impacted.

Response to Energy UK’s Vulnerability Commitment | Dec 2020

Ombudsman Services | Dec 01, 2020

Trade association Energy UK has today (Tuesday 1 December) launched its Vulnerability Commitment, under which suppliers serving nearly three quarters of the domestic market have pledged to improve the support they provide to vulnerable households.

The commitments include:

  • Appointing a Board level ‘champion’ to take responsibility for meeting the Commitment and improving support to vulnerable households.
  • Training front-line call centre staff to help better identify vulnerable callers and assist them.
  • Providing a freephone number for customers in financial hardship where appropriate
  • Seeking feedback from customers on whether billing communications are understandable and implementing improvements where necessary.
  • Regular customer research to ensure approach to supporting vulnerable households is informed and up to date.
  • Supporting the development of a best practice guide on using smart technology to identify self-disconnection.

Ed Dodman, director of regulatory affairs at Ombudsman Services, which runs the Energy Ombudsman scheme, welcomed the announcement.

He said: “It’s good to see energy suppliers taking steps to further improve how they support vulnerable customers. Energy UK deserves praise for the work it is doing to drive this agenda forward, particularly at a time when so many people require additional support due to financial pressure and other issues.

It’s good to see energy suppliers taking steps to further improve how they support vulnerable customers.

Ed Dodman, Director of Regulatory Affairs | Ombudsman Services

“We know from the complaints we handle that complicated and hard-to-understand bills are a real source of frustration for customers, including those in vulnerable circumstances, and can lead to a breakdown in trust between customer and supplier. It’s therefore encouraging to see suppliers signing up to improvements in this area.

“The commitment to training front-line staff, so they are better equipped to help vulnerable customers, is important and has the potential to make a real difference to people who might otherwise struggle to engage with the energy market.

“As the ombudsman we are undertaking our own work to improve how we identify and support vulnerable customers. We are keen to work closely with energy suppliers and other industry stakeholders as we do this.”