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Possible compensation for vulnerable energy customers after ‘wrongful’ installation of prepayment meters

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Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps has given energy bosses a deadline of Tuesday, February 7 to report back to him on what remedial action, such as providing compensation, they plan to take should they have 'wrongfully' installed prepayment meters in the homes of vulnerable customers.It comes in the wake of British Gas admitting fault as a result of an investigation by The Times newspaper, which discovered that people with small children or medical conditions have not been shown forbearance, with reports of debt collectors breaking into homes to install the equipment.

The findings follow on from several reviews by Ofgem of the services provided by energy suppliers, which have not identified this unacceptable behaviour and have, in some cases, given companies a clean bill of health.In a letter on Sunday, the Business Secretary has told Ofgem to toughen up on energy suppliers and investigate the customers’ experience of how their supplier is performing.Mr Shapps called on the energy regulator to set up a new customer reporting system for households to pass on their own stories of how they are being treated - especially those who are vulnerable.Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps said: “ I am appalled that vulnerable customers struggling with their energy bills have had their homes invaded and prepayment meters installed when there is a clear duty on suppliers to provide them with support.“They need to refocus their efforts on their consumers, the British public, who are at the receiving end of this abhorrent behaviour.“I’m also concerned the regulator is too easily having the wool pulled over their eyes by taking at face value what energy companies are telling them.

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