Industry regulator Ofgem has identified five suppliers who have shown failings in supporting vulnerable customers.
Good Energy, Outfox, SO Energy, TruEnergy and Utilita were judged as having “severe weaknesses” and told to do more to help customers in the colder months.
Although some good practice was identified, failings included not giving free gas safety checks to customers, no support offered to vulnerable people and not ensuring those using prepaid meters were identified.
Severe weaknesses mean it “either found that a significant proportion of the supplier’s processes and policies were missing or inadequate, or their data indicated that they are not achieving good consumer outcomes”.
Moderate weaknesses – which means expected processes were not in place or there was not adequate training for staff – were found in Ecotricity, Green Energy UK, Octopus and Shell.
Minor weaknesses were identified in British Gas, Bulb, EDF, E.ON, Ovo, Scottish Power and Utility Warehouse. This means Ofgem did not find any evidence of significant concern.
“Suppliers need to do more”
Director of retail at Ofgem, Neil Lawrence, said: “From eligible customers who are missing out on free gas safety checks through to companies not identifying vulnerable customers to be offered obvious support on the Priority Services Register, this robust review has highlighted that suppliers need to do more to support consumers.
“We welcome the cooperation from suppliers and action taken so far, and, although we are seeing some very good practice in parts of the industry, we can see there is still much more to be done.
“Most suppliers take the protection of vulnerable customers seriously, and several good initiatives to support customers have been launched recently.”
“While it’s encouraging to see the engagement on this Market Compliance Review, with some improvement actions already taking place, we’ve seen a number of failings across the board which need to be urgently addressed,” Mr Lawrence added.
“It’s going to be a very challenging winter for everyone, and customers must be confident they are getting the help and support they need.”