The UK government has today struck a deal with the energy sector which will ensure a protected supply of gas and electricity for UK households during the coronavirus pandemic.
New emergency measures agreed with energy industry leaders mean customers in financial distress or using pre-payment meters can retain a supply during the crisis by reducing or pausing bills, nominating third parties for credit top-ups or receiving a discretionary credit.
Secretary of State for Business and Energy, Alok Sharma, said: “While friends and family will play a role in helping people impacted by the coronavirus, we recognise there will be many customers who will need additional support and reassurance, particularly those who are financially impacted or in vulnerable circumstances.
“The government has committed to do whatever it takes to get our nation through the impacts of this coronavirus pandemic. Today those most in need can rest assured that a secure supply of energy will continue to flow into their homes during this difficult time.”
The government and energy industry have agreed to prioritise those existing customers most in need, while identifying customers whose circumstances may have changed as a direct or indirect result of Covid-19.
The agreed measures will be implemented immediately by energy suppliers to alleviate pressure on energy customers.
Chief executive of Energy UK, Audrey Gallacher, said: “As providers of essential services and critical infrastructure, the energy industry has well-practised contingency plans in order to ensure the delivery of services and is working closely with the Government on a daily basis to ensure there is no disruption to the generation and supply of energy to customers during these extraordinary circumstances.
“The sector is very conscious of the potential consequences for customers confined to their homes for prolonged periods and in particular those customers in vulnerable circumstances or on prepayment meters who may need additional help.
“Suppliers will be doing all they can to identify such customers and provide additional support wherever possible.”
And David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, said: “These are unprecedented times but the energy industry is working hard to keep gas and electricity flowing, look after our vulnerable customers and keep customers and staff safe.
“The UK’s electricity and gas network is one of the most reliable in the world and over 36,000 employees are working flat out to continue to provide a safe and reliable supply of energy during this time.”