Supporting energy suppliers and their customers with debt
Oct 24, 2023
Ofgem consultation response: ENSEK launches new products to support suppliers with debt management
Richard Dixon, Head of Product (Meter to Cash)
As energy debt reached a record high of £2.6 billion this summer, Ofgem has launched a consultation to explore plans to protect consumers while supporting energy suppliers who risk going bust or would need to leave the market.
You can read the consultation’s official press release here.
At ENSEK, we wholeheartedly endorse Ofgem’s requirement for energy suppliers to proactively assist vulnerable customers with their payments. As rising living costs continue to place real strain on households, it’s essential that suppliers have the opportunity to provide tangible assistance. And as an energy tech platform provider, we want to do our part to ensure they have the best tools to do so.
That’s why we’ve recently launched new products providing market leading support for vulnerable customers.
Payment Plans is a solution aimed at both on-supply and off-supply customers, allowing them to repay their debt over an extended period, based on their financial circumstances. This supports Ofgem’s ability to pay principles and regulatory debt arrangement reporting.
Payment Plans offer multiple ways to pay, including monthly by Direct Debit, credit/debit card and bank transfer. Non-direct debit methods can be paid at either weekly, fortnightly or monthly intervals, in line with customer preference.
The payment plan is managed separately to the customers’ main account for ongoing energy consumption, so they can continue with their existing payment arrangement – supporting at times of short-term financial hardship.
The payment plan is proactively monitored to ensure that customers are not falling into significant arrears. Where this occurs, automatic engagement with the customer is triggered to prompt customer interaction.
Additionally, using configuration tolerances, customers are able to defer payment during times of financial hardship, governed by supplier policy decisions.
Regular Payment Schemes
For customers who prefer to budget for their ongoing energy consumption – and any accrued debt – by paying a fixed monthly (or fortnightly) amount throughout the year, our new Regular Payment Scheme (RPS) offers alternative options to a monthly Fixed Direct Debit.
Customers can pay at their chosen interval, at a PayPoint outlet with a payment card, through their online account or by other means. Payment reminders are issued after a configurable number of instalments are unpaid, giving the customer time to bring their payments up to date. RPS customers are subject to Ofgem payment adequacy guidelines and therefore we always ensure they are paying the right amount.
Our data platform provides a wealth of information that can be used to identify Ofgem-recommended opportunities for proactive customer engagement. This is especially beneficial for those facing financial difficulties, supplementing the options already available through our flexible payment monitoring.
We also provide tailored bill and statement messaging based on individual customer profiles.