Ofgem has confirmed that from 8 November 2023, the Code of Practise for prepayment meters (PPMs) – hitherto voluntary – will be made mandatory.
The announcement follows an update of the Code of Practise spurred by evidence that 3.2 million people were cut off from their energy supply last year for being unable to keep up with their PPM payments – these figures were exacerbated as PPM installations rose considerably during the energy crisis.
Following a call from then energy security secretary Grant Shapps, for an investigation into PPM exploitation, UK energy suppliers agreed to stop forcibly installing PPMs into vulnerable households in February 2023.
On the 18 April, all British domestic energy suppliers signed Ofgem’s updated Code of Practise implementing tougher protection measures for vulnerable households.
This Code, will now become part of each energy suppliers’ licence and no longer be voluntary.
According to the updated Code it will now be mandatory for energy suppliers to conduct the following measures before installing a prepayment meter:
- Attempt to contact a customer at least 10 times
- Conduct a welfare visit
- Refrain from any involuntary PPM installations for the highest risk customers
- Wear body cameras when visiting a household to assess vulnerabilities ahead of installation
- Give all households being involuntarily switched to PPMs a £30 credit per meter
- Reassess on a case-by-case basis once a customer has repaid owed debts