Measures put in place to protect electricity supplies to households on pre-pay meters
By James Young | 19th March 2020
The government has put in place emergency measures to protect the domestic energy supply during coronavirus crisis.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has passed the measures to keep supply to those who need it most.
A statement said: "With immediate effect, customers with pre-payment meters can speak to their supplier about options to keep them supplied.
"This will benefit over 4 million customers.
"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.
"More broadly, 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."
Secretary of State for Business and Energy, Alok Sharma, said: "While friends and family will play a role in helping people impacted by the Coronavirus, we recognise there will be many customers who will need additional support and reassurance, particularly those who are financially impacted or in vulnerable circumstances.
"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.
"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."
Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, David Smith, said: These are unprecedented times but the energy industry is working hard to keep gas and electricity flowing, look after our vulnerable customers and keep customers and staff safe.
"The UK's electricity and gas network is one of the most reliable in the world and over 36,000 employees are working flat out to continue to provide a safe and reliable supply of energy during this time.
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.
"The UK government is working in lock step with the Devolved Administrations, World Health Organization, and international partners to keep the whole of the UK safe. Its approach is clinically led, based on the expert advice of the UK's Chief Medical Officer for England, the NHS and Public Health England."
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