Consumer Vulnerability Strategy: Prepayment meters

Increasing numbers of consumers in the domestic energy market have prepayment meters (PPM). Our research shows that PPM customers tend to have high vulnerability representation.  

PPM customers face particular barriers to accessing better deals such as fewer competitive tariffs, installation, removal and warrant charges and upfront security deposits. We want to remove these barriers to make sure that prepayment customers can access better deals by switching to other PPM tariffs or to other payment methods, where appropriate.

In December 2015 we published our proposals to improve outcomes for prepayment customers. These proposals are designed to:

  • help PPM customers to access more competitive tariffs
  • address the costs consumers can face, ensuring these do not fall disproportionately on those least able to afford them, and
  • ensure that PPM customers are treated fairly by their energy providers

Prepayment meter price cap

From 1 April 2017, the amount of money a supplier can charge a domestic prepayment meter (PPM) customer will be subject to a transitional price cap. We are responsible for updating the cap every six months. The level of the cap for the most recent and any previous charge restriction periods can be found on our Prepayment meter price cap page. 

Debt Assignment Protocol

The Debt Assignment Protocol (DAP) is the mechanism that suppliers use to transfer debt between one another when an indebted PPM customer switches supplier.  We are overseeing industry-led reform of the DAP to help improve the experience of indebted PPM customers seeking to switch supplier.

Through the publications and update feed below you can access our publications and outputs produced in relation to prepayment meters.

Publications and updates

  • Published: 24th Sep 2012
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 2 Associated documents
This letter sets out the measures suppliers have agreed to take to increase the number of customers using the Debt Assignment Protocol, the process for prepayment meter customers switching supplier with a debt, following the completion of Ofgem's review.

  • Published: 21st Jul 2009
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter gives an update on suppliers’ activities to replace and recalibrate token prepayment meters. It also sets out the minimum steps we expect suppliers to take when withdrawing token PPM facilities to ensure that no customer is left without supply

  • Published: 2nd Feb 2009
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter gives an update on suppliers’ activities to replace and recalibrate token prepayment meters. It also sets out the minimum steps we expect suppliers to take when withdrawing token PPM facilities to ensure that no customer is left without supply

  • Published: 30th May 2008
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 12 Associated documents
This letter follows Ofgem’s fuel poverty summit on 23 April & sets out evidence that Ofgem has on customers switching to more expensive providers.

  • Published: 10th Aug 2007
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter provides an update for April to June 2007 and highlights recent action by the suppliers to tackle the recalibration of token pre-payment meters

  • Published: 26th Jun 2007
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
Ipsos MORI was commissioned by Ofgem, the regulator of the gas and electricity industry to conduct a qualitative consultation with Prepayment Meter (PPM) customers.

  • Published: 25th May 2007
  • Reports and plans
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter provides an update for February and March 2007 and highlights recent action by the suppliers to tackle the recalibration of token pre-payment meters

  • Published: 23rd Apr 2007
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
Issue of Token Meters and the build up of debt

  • Published: 23rd Apr 2007
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
Iberdrola - Takeover of Scottish Power

  • Published: 21st Mar 2007
  • Reports and plans
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter provides an update from December 2006 and highlights recent action by the suppliers to tackle the recalibration of token pre-payment meters

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