Cadent Foundation director Julia Dwyer sets out a model for maximising the impact of innovation targeted at tackling fuel poverty. Partnership, flexibility and an ability to look beyond regulated needs codes are its key hallmarks.
The Energy White Paper’s suggestion that in future customers could be automatically switched to cheaper deals has been met with warnings about unintended consequences. But Citizens Advice’s Elizabeth Blakelock tells Utility Week she believes it has the potential to break down consumer concerns about switching and boost engagement.
Consumer advocate Citizens Advice has calculated that the Competition and Markets Authority’s findings in the appeal of four water companies’ price review could cost households as much as £3.7 billion by setting a "dangerous precedent" for energy networks' price controls.
Citizens Advice is pushing for the creation of an ‘essential services taskforce’ to simplify and improve the support received by vulnerable customers. In its ‘Getting support to those who need it’ report the consumer charity outlines a number of challenges faced by vulnerable customers, namely the complicated process of supplying multiple service providers with their relevant data.
Both the energy and water sectors need to hasten the creation of a single, shared priority service register (PSR), several industry experts have said. Electricity North West and United Utilities trialled such a scheme in 2018, but plans to roll out a common register nationwide in April this year have been delayed.
A survey by Citizens Advice found 4 per cent of consumers have already struggled to pay their energy bills while 9 per cent expect to fall behind. The survey also revealed that 50 per cent of pre-payment meter customers are struggling to top up, while 25 per cent say they are or expect to fall behind on energy bill payments.
Citizens Advice has revealed a c90-fold increase in traffic to a website page giving advice to pre-payment meter (PPM) customers amid the coronavirus pandemic. There has also been a hike in searches for advice on grants and benefits to help people pay their bills
Guidance outlining how energy suppliers should deal with customers during the coronavirus pandemic is to be published by the government imminently, Utility Week understands. The paper is expected to contain information from Citizens Advice as to what will be expected while the virus continues to affect both business and consumers.
Regulation is needed for third-party intermediaries (TPIs), such as autoswitching services, Citizens Advice has claimed. A report from the charity has found fewer than 15 out of around 70 energy suppliers are being offered by some autoswitching services claiming to cover the entire market.
Citizens Advice has set out a number of options for a potential successor to the default price cap in energy. They include mass opt-out collective switching, the creation of a backstop supplier for disengaged customers and the implementation of a “price to beat”