Utilities and communications

Crackdown on energy firms’ underhand tactics

Energy providers that use the underhand tactic of sending fake debt-collection letters to their customers will come under the spotlight in a review of the practice by the regulator.
Ofgem said some of the letters it had seen were “unacceptable”, although it added that some providers had changed the wording on the letters since the issue was raised a few weeks ago.
Ann Robinson, of Uswitch.com, said: “We support fully the strengthening of rules in this area by Ofgem. It’s unacceptable that energy companies would ever be allowed to mislead consumers by sending letters which appear to be from debt collectors. Hard-pressed customers in debt need help to manage their finances, not intimidation.
“Sky-high energy prices have understandably left many consumers struggling to afford bills – our research shows that, worryingly, more than one in 10 homes is currently in debt to an energy supplier, and a third of these owe more now than they did a year ago.”