UK Energy Regulator Seeks Fairer, More Competitive Market

By Ian Walker Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.K. energy regulator Ofgem on Monday moved to protect vulnerable consumers as it announced a range of plans designed to deliver a fairer, more competitive market.

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As part of the measures being considered, the regulator is planning to cap the amount suppliers charge customers for installing a pre-payment meter under warrant at 150 pounds ($195), and to ban these charges altogether for the most vulnerable.

Pre-payment meters are typically installed under warrant for customers who fail to pay their energy bills.

Ofgem also announced plans to make it easier for consumers to switch to cheaper deals by changing the rules for price comparison websites.

Currently, users can't switch directly to some of the cheapest deals listed and have to visit the supplier's own website and re-enter their details. Ofgem's rule change will give customers better access to cheaper deals, allowing them to switch directly from a price comparison site, it said.

Ofgem said it will also be trialing a new 'Check Your Energy Deal' online switching service to help customers who have been on poor value standard variable tariffs for three years or more to find cheaper deals.

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-Write to Ian Walker at ian.walker@wsj.com; @IanWalk40289749

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 03, 2017 04:02 ET (08:02 GMT)