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Supporting customers

The Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances 

Vulnerability is a key issue for an industry providing an essential service to the public. 

In 2018, Energy UK launched the Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances, to explore how customers in vulnerable circumstances could be provided better energy services in the future. 

The Commission’s report had a number of recommendations for the energy industry, the regulator, Government and beyond – all designed to improve services for customers who need extra support.  

Independently chaired by Lord Whitty, with five expert Commissioners from a wide range of backgrounds, the report is the culmination of over a year of evidence gathering and engagement with various stakeholders through oral evidence sessions and written submissions, including sessions across Great Britain in Cardiff, Glasgow, Newcastle and London.  

Hearing from expert witnesses and key organisations the Commission arrived at seven key themes, leading to a number of recommendations – for suppliers, energy networks, price comparison websites, Energy UK, Ofgem, the UK Government, and Citizens Advice – all of which the Commission believes will lead to better services for customers in vulnerable circumstances. 

Key themes: 

Commissioners identified 7 key themes: 

  1. An end to inadequate and inconsistent service: Customers in vulnerable circumstances should be well served and supported, regardless of which company provides their energy. 
  1. A comprehensive regulatory framework with timely support and protection: All customers should receive the same minimum level of service, support and regulatory protections, regardless of how their home is heated or who supplies their energy. 
  1. Easy identification of needs and access to support from energy suppliers: It should be easy for customers to disclose information about any vulnerabilities – with security and privacy respected – and to be given effective support. 
  1. A range of options to communicate with your supplier: Customers must be able to reach, and hear from, their supplier in a way that meets their needs. 
  1. Effective links between suppliers and support organisations: Customers in vulnerable circumstances should benefit from effective links established between their energy supplier and organisations that provide support and advocacy. 
  1. A smart energy system that works for and benefits customers in vulnerable circumstances: The transition to a smarter energy system should help, not hinder, the experiences of customers in vulnerable circumstances, particularly through improved support to prevent self-disconnection. 
  1. Affordable energy usage: Customers struggling to afford their household bills should receive both short-term help to manage periods of difficulty and a long-term sustainable solution to reduce their energy costs. 


Some of the key recommendations from the Commissioners include: 

Vulnerability Commitment 

One of the main recommendations of the report is for suppliers to adopt a new, independently monitored Code of Conduct to drive up standards of support for customers in vulnerable circumstances. Energy UK took the lead on this and worked with suppliers, consumer bodies and the regulator to come up with the Vulnerability Commitment.  

Read more here