Citizens Advice response to Ofgem’s notice of intention to accept binding commitments offered by PayPoint plc
We generally support PayPoint’s proposed commitments to close Ofgem’s investigation into competition concerns over payment services for prepayment meter customers. These include changes to remove exclusivity clauses, which should foster more competition and enable more innovation in payment services.
We also support the proposal to donate to Ofgem’s energy redress fund, although the rationale for the level of the donation should be made clearer. We think that any donation should be targeted at supporting prepayment meter customers who were affected by these competition concerns, by reopening funding for fuel vouchers which was first started during the covid pandemic. This is particularly urgent given the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on household budgets and the increase in energy prices.
We also raise concerns about the length of the investigation into PayPoint, which has taken almost 5 years since the complaint was first received. Delays in investigations leave problems unaddressed, and prevent consumers from receiving timely redress. We think Ofgem should be more transparent about the progress of its cases, and make reforms to ensure that delays of this length do not occur in future.