Ofgem warns suppliers over ‘unacceptable’ remote switches to pre-payment

Ofgem director of retail Neil Lawrence has written to energy suppliers to warn them over reports that customers had been remotely switched to pre-payment mode.
Lawrence said “The cases shared are so concerning, and placed consumers at such risk, that we need to write to you to make you aware of the situation and remind you of your obligations”.
He reminded suppliers that “prepayment meters should only be used where it is safe and reasonably practicable. Prepayment meters should not be installed or remotely switched without carrying out appropriate assessments, including identifying any vulnerability.”
He added that “following the remote switching of the smart meter, we expect suppliers to take proactive steps to ensure that it is safe and reasonably practicable for the consumer to stay in prepay mode, which could include monitoring of self-disconnection”. He said that “All suppliers should review their obligations and processes on smart prepayment meter practices as a matter of urgency, including ensuring that all customer service representatives are briefed on the severity of the impact poor practices can have on customers.”
He warned suppliers that: “We will not hesitate to take further action if we continue to see these unacceptable practices continue.”