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Government agrees on measures with the energy industry to support vulnerable people through COVID-19

New emergency measures with the energy industry have today 19 March been agreed by the government to protect the domestic energy supply of those most in need during the disruption caused by COVID-19.

Pre-payment meters

With immediate effect customers with pre-payment meters who may not be able to add credit can speak to their supplier about options to keep them supplied. This could include nominating a third party for credit top-ups, having a discretionary fund added to their credit, or being sent a pre-loaded top-up card so that their supply is not interrupted. This will benefit over 4 million customers.

Any energy customer in financial distress will also be supported by their supplier, which could include debt repayments and bill payments being reassessed, reduced or paused where necessary, while disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended.

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The government has committed to do whatever it takes to get our nation through the impacts of this coronavirus pandemic. Today those most in need can rest assured that a secure supply of energy will continue to flow into their homes during this difficult time. Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business and Energy

The government and energy industry have agreed to prioritise those existing customers most in need, while identifying customers whose circumstances may have changed as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19.

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The sector is very conscious of the potential consequences for customers confined to their homes for prolonged periods and in particular those customers in vulnerable circumstances or on prepayment meters who may need additional help. Suppliers will be doing all they can to identify such customers and provide additional support wherever possible. Audrey Gallacher, Chief executive Energy UK

Energy UK has a dedicated page providing energy advice and information for consumers at this time.

Energy UK

What to do if you can't top up your meter

Customers that are unable to top up their pre-payment meter are advised to contact their supplier immediately to discuss how they can be kept on supply. Ofgem recommends consumers leave the meter box unlocked if they need someone else to top up the meter. Smart meter customers should be able to top-up remotely, such as by phone, mobile application or online.

Energy UK is warning has been issued that suppliers phone lines could get busy with longer than usual waiting times—due to staff shortages and/or high volumes of customers trying to get through. Where possible please try online options—through your supplier’s website, app, email or social media. Many of these channels will be able to help with queries, leaving phone lines free for urgent enquiries.

Read the Government announcement

Stay #COsafe

Make sure you stay safe from Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning if you’re working from home or are in self-isolation. Make sure you have an audible carbon monoxide alarm fitted and make sure you regularly test it is working.

In case of a gas or carbon monoxide emergency, call 0800 111 999 - 24 hours a day. Find out more about carbon monoxide poisoning and how to stay safe: co-bealarmed.co.uk/how-to-stay-safe

 

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