Ofgem Grants Permission for Energy Suppliers to Resume Forcibly Installing Prepayment Meters with Strict Conditions
January 10, 2024 - Reading time: 2 minutes
Energy regulator Ofgem has given permission for suppliers Octopus Energy, EDF, and Scottish Power to resume installing prepayment meters (PPMs) as they have met the set conditions. The firms were temporarily banned last year following a scandal around the practice across the industry.
Conditions Met by Suppliers
- Conduct internal audits to identify PPMs wrongfully installed before February 2023 suspension
- Offer compensation and a return to non-prepayment payment methods to affected customers
- Provide regular monitoring data to Ofgem for identifying any concerning practices
Monitoring Data Requirements
Once suppliers meet the conditions and restart involuntary PPM installations, they will need to provide regular monitoring data to Ofgem. This data is required for identifying any concerning practices that may affect customers unfairly.
Checking Energy Suppliers Online
Customers and consumer groups can check energy suppliers allowed to install prepayment meters without obtaining household permission on the Ofgem website.
Requirements for Installing Prepayment Meters
- Make at least 10 attempts to contact a customer before installing a PPM
- Carry out a site welfare visit before proceeding
- Not allowed to forcibly fit a PPM if the household is considered "highest risk" customers (e.g., those requiring continuous energy supply, older occupants aged 75 and over without support, or households with children under two years old)
All energy companies have signed up to a code of practice governing the installation of prepayment meters, introduced after an investigation found evidence of bad behavior by suppliers severely affecting struggling customers. Ofgem's director general for markets, Tim Jarvis, stated that protecting consumers is their "number one priority" and will take action if suppliers act irresponsibly.
Working with Consumer Groups
Ofgem will continue to work closely with consumer groups and suppliers to ensure households understand their rights when it comes to prepayment meters, regularly reviewing rules to make sure they are working to protect the most vulnerable.
David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.