Energy suppliers achieve highest results for the second year running in Safety Net Audit
The latest results of Energy UK’s Safety Net Audit, show that all of the participating suppliers achieved the highest standard possible - and for the second year running.
The Energy UK Safety Net, created in 2004, was set up to help protect customers in vulnerable circumstances. The six largest suppliers are measured against 13 objectives ranging from minimising disconnections to having specialist teams and appropriate policies and procedures in place. Under the voluntary Safety Net, signatories have pledged to never knowingly disconnect a customer in vulnerable circumstances at any time of year.
The results of the Safety Net audit for 2018, carried out by PwC, show that for the second year running, all six suppliers attained the highest award, recognising the significant efforts they have made to comply with the commitments.
In addition to these existing voluntary schemes, Energy UK last year set up the independently-chaired Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances. This has been looking at how standards of care and support could be improved further across the energy sector. The Commission will report back in the coming weeks making recommendations for industry, Government and other stakeholders.
Alongside this, Energy UK and its members have been developing a new Vulnerability Charter to update, develop and consolidate the existing voluntary commitments and go further to support customers most in need. This will be published later this year.
Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of Energy UK said:
“It is encouraging to see all six Safety Net signatories achieve the highest standard for the second year running. This demonstrates the industry’s commitment to protecting customers in vulnerable circumstances.
“There is much more the industry can do in this area and it’s to meet that challenge that we set up the independently-chaired Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances along with plans for a new Vulnerability Charter.”
• Since the Safety Net was founded, the nature of debt and disconnection in the UK energy retail market has changed beyond recognition. In 2003 there were around 16,000 disconnections of domestic customers for debt in the UK. In 2017 - the most recent year for which published data exists - there were only 17 disconnections for debt in England and Wales, with none in Scotland. (Ofgem)
• The six suppliers who have signed up to the Safety Net are: Centrica/British Gas, EDF Energy, eon, npower, Scottish Power and SSE.
• You can find the Energy UK Safety Net here
• The Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances will report in the coming weeks and make recommendations for industry, Government and other stakeholders.
• In addition to the work of the Commission, Energy UK will be separately developing a new ‘Vulnerability Charter’ to build on existing commitments and go further to support customers most in need.