- Gas Supplier Licence
- Electricity Supply Licence
Decision not to confirm Provisional Order
On 9 September 2022, the Authority issued a Provisional Order to Utilita under section 25(2) of the Electricity and Act 1989 and section 28(2) of the Gas Act 1986.
The Authority has engaged with Utilita throughout the period of the Provisional Order being in place. Having assessed the information received, the Authority is satisfied that Utilita has been taking steps which we consider to be appropriate to secure compliance with SLCs 26.4, 26.5(d) (in respect of its customers, particularly vulnerable customers, customers on the PSR and customers in debt) and SLCs 27.8(b), 27A.5, 27A.6 and 27A.7 (governing the application of ASC).
Therefore, the Authority has decided not to confirm the Provisional Order. The Provisional Order has lapsed and ceased to have effect on the 9 December 2022.
Issue of Provisional Order
On 9 September 2022, the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (“the Authority”) issued a Provisional Order to Utilita Energy Ltd (“Utilita”) in accordance with section 25(2) of the Electricity Act 1989 and section 28(2) of the Gas Act 1986.
It appears to the Authority that Utilita is contravening and likely to contravene Standard Licence Conditions (“SLCs”) 27A.5-27A.7 and 27.8(b), governing the application of Additional Support Credits, a fixed amount of credit provided to a Domestic Customer in a Vulnerable Situation when their Prepayment Meter credit runs low or runs out to ensure continuity of electricity supply or return on supply.
It also appears to the Authority that Utilita is contravening and likely to contravene SLCs 26.4 and 26.5(d) in respect of its Utilita’s treatment of its customers, particularly vulnerable customers, customers on the Priority Services Register (“PSR”) and customers in debt.
Therefore, the Authority has taken the decision to issue a Provisional Order which seeks to bring Utilita into compliance with SLCs 26.4, 26.5(d), 27.8(b), 27A.5, 27A.6 and 27A.7.
The Provisional Order requires Utilita to immediately:
- Not act in contravention of the relevant SLCs.
- Cease the use of call scripts which tells customers that Additional Support Allowance is not a licence requirement.
- Take ability to pay into account for all repayment plan calculations and on each occasion ASC is offered, calculate the instalments for repayment.
- Develop its Additional Support Credit policy to ensure compliance with the relevant SLCs.
The Provisional Order also requires that by no later than 4pm on 30th September 2022, Utilita:
- Has reviewed its cases where customers are off supply to ensure that they are offered Additional Support Credit where required and assess whether prepayment meters remain a safe payment method in each circumstance;
- Offer a credit mode meter to all PSR supply dependant customers that is safe and practicable in all circumstances of the case;
- Review and engage proactively with all PSR customers’ request for Additional Support Credit including to ensure that functionality of the prepayment meter is safe and reasonably practicable in all circumstances; and
- Fully engage with Citizens Advice Bureau, Citizens Advice Scotland’s Extra Help Unit and Ombudsman Services to ensure all referral and off supply incidents are reassessed in line with the SLCs.
Finally, the Provisional Order requires that by no later than 4pm on 31 October Utilita: provide the Authority with an independent audit confirming its compliance with the other aspects of the Provisional Order.
Further details of what Utilita is required to do, and by when, are contained in the order itself and the Notice of Reasons, below.
Provisional orders are issued in certain circumstances in accordance with the Electricity Act 1989 or Gas Act 1986 and where certain conditions are satisfied. Further information regarding provisional orders is contained within our Enforcement Guidelines. For further information about this Provisional Order see the attached documents below.