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Citizens Advice welcomes permanent protections for those struggling with energy bills

29 June 2020

Citizens Advice, the official consumer watchdog for energy, has welcomed industry regulator Ofgem’s new and permanent protections for customers using prepayment meters and those struggling to pay their bills.

Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“The problems faced by customers using prepayment meters, and others struggling to keep up with their payments, have been a big concern for Citizens Advice for many years. 

“It was heartening to see the industry rally round when the coronavirus pandemic struck. A series of measures was put in place to help people struggling with their energy bills - whether that was because they were shielding and finding it difficult to top up; or they’d seen a sudden and dramatic cut in their income. 

“It’s even more welcome to see the protections we’ve been arguing for made permanent. It’s a recognition that as we move out of this first phase of the pandemic, many people will still need a more flexible approach to keeping up with their payments.  

“Energy is an essential service - we all need it for basics such as home heating, and cooking and washing. At a time when more people are building up debts, everyone should be confident they’ll be given time and support to get their finances in order without the risk of disconnection.”

Citizens Advice’s report on the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the domestic energy sector The End of the Beginning can be found on our website.

Notes to editors

  1. Citizens Advice includes the national charity; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.
  2. Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and post. We provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.
  3. The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free, independent support for prosecution and defence witnesses in every criminal court in England and Wales.
  4. Citizens Advice offers Pension Wise services at 500 locations in England and Wales.
  5. Citizens Advice’s services are free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to all regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  6. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  7. For consumer advice, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 to talk in Welsh.
  8. We helped 2.6 million people face to face, by phone, email and webchat in 2017-18. For service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.
  9. Citizens Advice staff are supported by over 23,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 locations in England and Wales.