What does offering to reduce the maximum debt repayment for consumers mean in practical terms?
Pre-payment customers in debt to their suppliers are expected to pay off some of what they owe when they top up their gas or electricity (as part of a debt repayment arrangement).
Under the existing Code of Practice overseen by the Utility Regulator, a supplier can deduct up to a maximum of 40% from a purchase of electricity or gas to reduce debt. However, by signing up to the Consumer Energy Charter, suppliers have agreed to contact all customers on the maximum repayment amount to offer to move them to a 20% repayment rate. For consumers who are new to debt repayment plans, repayment rates will not be set above 20%, unless requested by the customer. For customers on a 20% repayment rate, this means at least 80% of any new top up will go to securing additional supplies of gas or electricity.
Suppliers will, however, continue to work with customers to make sure that any debt arrangements fit their own specific circumstances based on their ability to pay and will discuss options available to the customer.
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