Energy regulator Ofgem has implemented several measures to tackle concerns following an investigation into Community Energy Scheme UK (CES).
CES operates a community energy scheme whereby it installs solar PV panels on the roofs of social housing in Stoke-on-Trent and sells the electricity from these panels to the tenants.
Ofgem launched an investigation into CES in 2021 and Community Energy Scheme Stoke (CESS) in 2022 to identify whether the groups had contravened consumer protection legislation through its sales and customer service practices.
Following this, Ofgem has now recommended a range of measures to tackle current concerns related to the scheme.
CES and CESS have both offered to implement the actions that the energy regulator believes will address the key concerns. The two groups have also agreed to amend existing and new contracts signed by consumers, adding a termination clause which will allow consumers to leave the Scheme at any time.
Both CES and CESS have also amended their bill format to provide clear information to consumers about charges applied and whether charges are estimated.
One of the primary actions Ofgem recommends is allowing consumers who have signed up to the community energy scheme prior to 19 September 2019 to leave for free throughout a 30-day period. This is a one-off offer.
Another action recommended by Ofgem is to offer consumers who have also signed up to the scheme prior to 19 September 2019 to amend their contract to include a new termination clause.
Ofgem hopes that the implementation of these changes will have an effect similar to that of an Authority exercising its enforcement powers.