Citizens Advice responds to Ofgem statement on forced prepayment meter installations

Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“The rotten core of debt collection practice in the energy sector has now been exposed for all to see. But this isn’t a case of one bad apple.

“The rules are clear but they haven’t been followed. That’s why we’ve been calling for a ban on forced installations since last summer, when the scale of the problem began to emerge. 

“It should not have taken this long but we welcome Ofgem’s announcement tonight. We now need robust new protections. And suppliers must conduct an immediate review to make sure no one’s been left on a prepayment meter when it isn't safe for them.”

Background information:

  • In 2022, Citizens Advice saw more people unable to afford to top up their prepayment meter than for the entirety of the previous 10 years combined.

  • By the end of last year Citizens Advice helped around 235,000 people with energy issues - that's more than 50% higher than at this point last year and more than double than in 2020.

Notes to editors

  1. Citizens Advice is made up of the national charity Citizens Advice; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.

  2. Our network of charities offers impartial advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free.

  3. Citizens Advice helped 2.55 million people face to face, over the phone, by email and webchat in 2021-22. And we had 40.6 million visits to our website. For full service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.

  4. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 18,500 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.

  5. Citizens Advice is the largest provider of free, multi-channel debt advice. Providing that help gives Citizens Advice unique insight into the types of debts people struggle with.

  6. Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and postal markets. We provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.

  7. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 for Welsh language speakers.