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Ofgem’s new licence rules to ease winter fuel bills

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The UK regulator will frame new rules for suppliers to offer suitable debt terms or emergency credit for customers

The UK’s energy regulator Ofgem seeks to introduce new licence rules for power suppliers to protect customers who are finding it difficult to pay their bills, media reports said. The new licence rules are expected to relieve those from financial distress and allow them to pay their energy bills. 

Philippa Pickford, director of retail at Ofgem, told the media, “Customers who are struggling to pay their bills should contact their supplier as soon as possible. The extra protections we have announced today will help ensure they get some breathing space this winter.”

It is reported that the new rules will enable suppliers to offer emergency credit to customers who are challenged by their prepayment energy meter. The prepayment energy meter allows customers to top up their credit on a card or key. These measures on part of the UK energy regulator was established through a voluntary agreement between the regulator, energy industry and government. 

The agreement was established in March on the back of strict lockdown measures in the country. Ofgem has lowered the cap on energy bill rates for the winter, but households in the country are realising that their bills are more than £100 higher due to heavy energy consumption. This high energy consumption can also be attributed to staying indoors as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice, told the media, “Energy is an essential service and everyone should be confident they can adequately heat their home and protect their health—especially during a global pandemic.”

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