New guide to help support vulnerable customers launched

The chief executive of Energy UK hails new guide as “important step forward”

Energy UK and the Money Advice Trust have published a new guide to help energy suppliers identify and support vulnerable customers.

Published today (9 October), the guide, entitled Vulnerability, mental health and the energy sector, aims to help frontline staff deal with customers in a range of vulnerable situations.

It also includes specific guidance on helping consumers with mental health problems.

Ofgem’s recently updated domestic standards of conduct requires gas and electricity suppliers to better identify consumers in vulnerable situations.

The chief executive of Energy UK, Lawrence Slade, said the guide is an “important step forward” for the energy industry, which “believes passionately in improving customer service and support for all consumers”.

“Mental health issues can affect anyone, at any time, which is why it is so important for energy companies to recognise this significant issue and ensure they are equipped to deal with the needs of all their customers,” said Slade.

“This is a challenge that is not unique to energy companies,” he added. “Across our society we need to take huge leaps forward in recognising and responding to the impact that mental health issues can have on a large part of the population.”

And the chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, Joanna Elson, it is “positive to see the energy sector proactively working to improve the support they provide customers”.

“We look forward to further supporting the energy sector in this work,” she added.

Last week, Ofwat announced it will publicly report on how each water company plans to help customers in vulnerable circumstances for the first time as part of its forthcoming price review, PR19.

The regulator said it will report how companies “serve, support and protect” such customers and will clearly show which companies are “leading the field” and those that are “letting their customers down”.

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