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CAB News 12 October 2018

Friday 12 October 2018

Our response to Ofgem’s Annual State of the Market report has received national pick up including by The Telegraph and BBC.

The report showed that the profits and market share of the six largest energy suppliers have fallen in the past year.



Competition drives down collective profits of Big Six

The Daily Telegraph, 12/10/2018, p.4, Jillian Ambrose

Responding to Ofgem’s Annual State of the Market report, Gillian Guy said the rising number of people opting for new energy suppliers “underlines why it’s so important that Ofgem tightens up its licensing rules”.

Gillian said: “We know that some suppliers entering the market aren’t prepared to provide adequate customer service, or aren’t financially robust enough to survive. Poor customer service often hits vulnerable customers the hardest. It needs to stop poorly prepared companies from entering the market, and take badly performing suppliers out of the market quicker.”

”Tens of thousands” disconnect their own power supplies

BBC (Web), 11/10/2018, Unattributed

Image result for power supply disconnect

The BBC quoted our research showing that tens of thousands of the UK’s poorest householders are disconnecting their own power supplies, because they cannot afford to top up their meters.
“Citizens Advice estimated that as many as 140,000 householders were going without gas or electricity, because they could not afford to top up their meters. Of those, 56% were left with cold homes, while 35% had insufficient light.”

Universal Credit

McVey buys silence with gag clause

The Times, 12/10/2018, p.9, Paul Morgan

DWP has confirmed to The Times that Citizens Advice has not signed a full contract with a publicity clause but had instead signed a grant agreement to help claimants through every step of making a Universal Credit claim. Gillian Guy was also quoted saying Citizens Advice had signed no restrictive clauses.

Gillian said: “Nothing in the agreement prevents us from continuing to raise our evidence publicly.”

Problems with universal credit

BBC Radio4, PM, 08/10/2018, 17:15:27, 5:0

Kayley Hignell, Head of Families, Welfare and Work was interviewed about the issues we’re seeing with universal credit and how the government should address these.

Kayley said: “The people we see are people who are having a problem with universal credit. There are people who are having a positive experience or finding it OK but it has to work for everyone. This benefit covers people in so many different situations and when things go wrong they are absolutely terrible in terms of the consequences. It’s unacceptable to have a benefit system that can leave people in these situations.”

Do energy suppliers treat complaints too casually?

Utility Week (Web), 11/10/2018, Unattributed

Figures in the Ofgem report show that only a third of customers who make a complaint are happy with the response they get from their supplier. Gillian Guy, chief executive at Citizens Advice, agreed that while some improvements have been made, energy suppliers still have a lot more work to do to when it comes to complaint handling processes.

Gillian said: “Customers need to have confidence that when something goes wrong, their supplier will deal with it. [This survey] shows this isn’t the case. While some improvements have been made, it’s simply not good enough that only a third of customers are happy with how their complaints are handled,” she said.

Mobile phone bills

BBC 1, Rip Off Britain, 08/10/2018, 09:33:12, 5:0

Our research into separating the cost of mobile contracts and handsets was referenced in yesterday’s Rip off Britain episode.
“Research by Citizens Advice suggests that around four million people have been charged for a handset that they’ve already bought. The average extra cost is reckoned to be £22 a month – more for the latest smartphones. And, almost a quarter of over 65s were found to have stayed on their contract once their initial one had ended. If this had continued for a year, they could have faced unnecessary charges of up to £264.

In other news

More than a million people in the UK live in “food deserts” with limited access to affordable fresh food.

Report commissioned by ministers recommended a 32% salary pay rise for High Court judges.

A Guardian investigation suggests hundreds of vulnerable immigrants are being detained indefinitely.

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