Compliance and enforcement

Improving energy supplier performance for consumers

Protecting consumers’ interests is our top priority. One of the ways in which we do this is by ensuring energy suppliers provide services to consumers, in particular those who are vulnerable. We do this by investigating evidence we receive, but also by proactively reviewing how suppliers operate.

Market Compliance Reviews

In April 2022, Ofgem CEO Jonathan Brearley announced a series of Market Compliance Reviews to look at energy supplier performance.  

The aim of the reviews is to improve standards in areas such as customer service or support for vulnerable customers. 

For each review, suppliers had to submit: 

  • performance data 

  • internal documents 

  • a self-assessment signed by their Board.  

Suppliers receive a separate rating for each Market Compliance Review.  A supplier may do well in one area but less well in another. 

Our current programme of Market Compliance Reviews covers the following supplier activities: 

  1. Setting customer direct debits correctly. 

  1. Supporting customers in payment difficulty or in debt. 

  1. Identifying and supporting vulnerable customers.  

  1. Providing good customer service. 

  1. Ensuring senior staff at suppliers are fit and proper. 

  1. Having adequate control of all the assets suppliers need to operate and deliver for consumers.

Once we have finished our review and rated the suppliers, we ask the suppliers with any weaknesses to create and implement an improvement plan. We check these plans and follow up on their implementation.

We also publish the results for each Market Compliance Review, including how suppliers were rated.

Supplier ratings

We use four ratings to categorise the suppliers: 

  1. No Material Weaknesses: The supplier’s processes, governance and policies seem up to standard, and their data indicates they are generally achieving good consumer outcomes. 

  1. Minor Weaknesses: Some of the supplier’s policies, processes or training could have been more comprehensive, but we did not find evidence of any significant concern. 

  1. Moderate Weaknesses: The supplier did not have some of the policies or processes in place that we would expect, or the training and guidance available to their staff was not at the level we considered necessary. We may also have found some poor performance data. 

  1. Severe Weaknesses: We either found that a significant proportion of the supplier’s processes and policies were missing or inadequate, or their data indicated that they are not achieving good consumer outcomes.  

Below we have set out the ratings for the suppliers included in the Market Compliance Reviews. 

Each table shows the rating for the supplier at the time we of review, and the current rating. The supplier may have taken action to improve performance. 

Provisional orders

Our Market Compliance Reviews also contributed to three provisional orders we issued to suppliers with severe weaknesses. We do this when we think there is high risk of immediate poor consumer outcomes and we need a supplier to improve rapidly. We have set out the reasons for each Provisional Order below.

Direct Debits

Tru Energy: The evidence suggested that Tru Energy’s policies and processes were on the whole poor and inadequately documented. A PO was issued to Tru Energy on D28 July 2022. 

Customers in Payment Difficulty

ScottishPower: The evidence suggested that in spite of ScottishPower’s policies, customer service agents were not taking into account their customers’ ability to pay when setting debt repayment rates. A PO was issued to Scottish Power on 22 September 2022. 

Utilita: The evidence suggested that Utilita did not always provide Additional Support Credit to customers where we would consider this to be the appropriate thing to do. A PO was issued to Utilita on 15 September 2022. 

More information on the Provisional Orders is available in the Publications below. 

Review updates

In April 2022 we announced market compliance reviews focusing on areas with an immediate impact on consumers (direct debits, customer service, support for vulnerable customers and support for customers with difficulty paying).

In May 2022 we expanded the review programme with more assessments that will focus on suppliers’ financial robustness and risk management. 

Market Compliance Assessments - Update on next steps and further annual assessments in 2022

Publications and updates