Regulator considering price cap on energy bills for vulnerable consumers
A “safeguard tariff” would protect some customers from overpaying for their energy.
The energy regulator is considering introducing a price cap on bills as part of new proposals aimed at protecting vulnerable consumers.
Ofgem said on Monday that a “safeguard tariff” for vulnerable consumers, which would protect them from overpaying for their energy, is one of a number of options it is mulling.
It said research it carried out with the Competition and Markets Authority points to “vulnerable consumers in particular getting a poor deal”.
It comes after a temporary price cap to protect over four million households who prepay for their energy came into effect in March.
Ofgem said that cap would save typical prepayment customers around £80 a year, with many seeing a reduction in their gas bill of around 10-15%.
But a price cap could now be extended further with the safeguard tariff.
Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem, said: “Protecting vulnerable consumers is a priority for Ofgem.
“We are committed to ensuring that the more disadvantaged in society are not left behind as we move towards a smarter, more competitive energy market.
“That’s why we are starting new work to protect vulnerable customers, including the option of introducing a safeguard tariff for them.”
Among its other proposals are plans to make switching easier and to cap warrant charges to install pre-payment meters and ban these charges altogether for the most vulnerable.
Ofgem said it wants to take “the hassle out of switching” after its data showed many people have never or rarely switched.
“Suppliers must also do more to get all their consumers, particularly those on poor value standard variable tariffs, a better deal.
“We are pressing ahead with a raft of reforms to make it even easier for people to switch no matter how they choose to shop around,” Mr Nolan added.