Energy providers to start chasing unpaid Portsmouth energy bills

ENERGY providers are poised to resume demands for payment of unpaid gas and electricity bills, a consumer expert has warned.
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Demands for payment were temporarily suspended during the coronavirus lockdown by industry regulator Ofgem, amid concerns about a spike in missed payments.

But The News' consumer expert Richard Thomson says it has now given the green light for energy providers to restart debt collections.

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The regulator had previously called on firms to help customers struggling financially during the pandemic by providing payment holidays or reducing bills.

Picture: Rui Vieira/PA WirePicture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
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This means that customers with outstanding energy bills will start getting letters through their door about arranging repayments.

Ofgem chief executive, Johnathan Brearley, has written to providers saying he recognised that extending unlimited credit to customers couldn’t continue indefinitely, and it wasn’t in their best interests overall.

But they have been urged to maintain strong support for those customers struggling to manage their energy costs.

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A spokesperson for consumer watchdog Which? said: ‘This latest update from the regulator should not be taken as an excuse for suppliers to start hounding customers who are not yet able to afford repayments.

‘We expect them to adopt a flexible approach to work with customers and provide agreed repayment plans they can afford.’

Mr Thomson, who writes the Streetwise feature in The News, advises people who believe they have been faced with unreasonable demands for payment to use the Ofgem complaints procedure, details of which can be obtained from their website ofgem.gov.uk/consumers/household-gas-and-electricity-guide/complain-about-your-gas-or-electricity-bill-or-supplier.

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