E.ON Next and Shell Energy have joined 12 retail energy suppliers in signing up to the Vulnerability Commitment to improve support for vulnerable energy customers.
The independently chaired voluntary commitment was first established in 2020 to improve how suppliers identify and support customers in vulnerable circumstances, going “over and above existing licence obligations”.
Chaired by Energy UK, the commitment’s signatories include Octopus Energy, EDF, OVO, British Gas and Good Energy.
In July 2022 Energy UK called on the UK Government to boost the support available for consumers struggling to pay their energy bills.
UK households may see their economic struggle exacerbated as Cornwall Insight’s latest Default Tariff Cap forecast showed a 10% increase compared to January’s predictions, rising to £3,338.07 in Q2 this year.
“I’m delighted that Shell Energy and E.ON Next have signed up to the Energy UK Vulnerability Commitment,” said Steve Crabb, chair of Energy UK’s Vulnerability Commitment.
“This takes us even closer to getting 100% of British households under the protection of the commitment. But it’s not just about numbers – the Vulnerability Commitment aims to drive up standards by getting companies to learn from each other and share best practices, and I know that both suppliers have a lot to contribute when it comes to innovation and collaboration. This is great news for customers who need extra support.”
As part of its Market Compliance Review last November, Energy regulator, Ofgem, reported that all 17 of the UK’s energy suppliers need to increase their support for customers in vulnerable situations. One of the positive aspects reported in the review however, was the number of suppliers signed up the Vulnerability Commitment.
“There’s no such thing as an average customer and there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to supporting vulnerable people, which is why we have a range of ways we can help, including financial support through our E.ON Next Energy Fund or the work we do with support agencies such as StepChange, Citizens Advice and Energy Advice Scotland,” said E.ON Next’s chief operating officer, Ramona Vlasiu.
“We know these are incredibly difficult times for people and we know the challenges in providing the right support in the right way. Energy UK’s Vulnerability Commitment is an essential standard for our industry and we’re proud the support we provide to customers meets those requirements.”
Kerri-Anne Mills, chief operating officer at Shell Energy said: “At Shell Energy, looking after our customers is our highest priority and joining Energy UK’s Vulnerability Commitment shows that we are determined to go above and beyond to support our customers.”
“The higher cost of living is presenting challenges to many which is why, alongside this commitment, we’ve also put together a £50 million support package to help those who need it most.”