The Big Six energy supplier Npower displays a rather insincere behaviour by allowing its customers to fall into energy debts of up to £1,600. The company does not spot such customers or intervene in order to save them from falling under the trap of paying higher bills. In fact, many of these customers face financial issues and rather need cheaper energy deals so; gas and electricity suppliers like Npower are expected to alert them before they end up in such huge debts.
This rather unbelievable trend was observed by UK’s energy regulatory body Ofgem, which pointed out that apart from Npower there are other smaller gas and electricity providers like Utility Warehouse, Ecotricity, iSupplyEnergy, and First Utility that show the same behaviour. These suppliers are observed to allow customers accumulate an average of £800 of debt for electricity. In many cases, the accumulated amount crossed £1,000 before the UK energy supplier decided to act.
Similarly, Npower, Utility Warehouse and Spark Energy have allowed customers to not pay bills till they reach an amount of £800 on average. The whole point here is that those who are not paying their bills and falling in huge debts are actually the vulnerable customers who need cheaper energy deals. They should be monitored by the UK energy suppliers and stopped from falling further into debts. This clearly suggests that many of the UK energy suppliers are not doing enough for customers who are struggling with huge energy debts.
Rachel Fletcher from Ofgem expressed his views by saying that “When suppliers let big debts accrue, it’s a sign that they’re not spotting debt or stepping in early enough to help customers who are struggling to pay bills.” As there are no regulatory limit for the debts, energy suppliers have not shown a disciplined approach towards monitoring the customers since last five years and in most cases have failed to offer them cheaper energy deals.
As per statistics, there was a 7% increase in average electricity debt and 5% in the debts related to the gas bills. In fact, the number of people facing electricity debts was 1.2million and gas debt was 1 million in 2016. This is still considered the lowest levels since the government and regulatory bodies ordered monitoring by all UK energy suppliers in 2006.
Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice, shared his views by saying that “After a decade of low wage growth, people’s wages are now falling, whilst the costs of essentials like gas and electricity are rising. The most expensive tariffs have gone up by £89 on average in the last year.”
Amidst the harsh criticism the Big Six energy supplier Npower admitted its short coming by saying that “Npower is committed to helping its most vulnerable customers and we go above and beyond our regulatory obligations to provide assistance to those who need it most.”
Speaking on the matter Shay Ramani, founder of FreePriceCompare said that “Energy debts are a sign that customers are not thinking of switching energy suppliers. They stick to the expensive energy suppliers while they can easily get cheap energy bills by choosing to switch tocheaper energy suppliers. The power suppliers are too busy to monitor their customers who end up falling into debts. To keep away debts, customers should compare energy suppliers and start switching.”
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