Energy suppliers ask government for financial support during pandemic

Trade association Energy UK said current government measures to help customers were not enough

Energy suppliers have asked the government to provide financial support to enable them to offer payment breaks to households and businesses struggling to afford their bills because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trade association Energy UK said government measures to help about four million households with pre-pay energy meters who may struggle to top up credit but Energy UK warned these were not enough.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: “We have been in contact with the government, Ofgem and Citizens Advice on what actions, protections and practical steps suppliers can take to support customers during these challenging times. Suppliers will be doing all they can to identify customers in vulnerable circumstances and provide support where possible on a case-by- case basis.

“On behalf of the industry, we have been also having discussions with the government to explore if any additional financial support could be required to help these customers over the coming months.”

In response to the news, Fiona Nicholls, Climate Campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “If the government is going to provide loans they need to come with commitments that these companies agree to go 100% renewable. Big energy suppliers like SSE has already done it; others must follow suit.

“Workers in these sectors must have their jobs secured and bill-payers must be protected. But any loans must come with strings attached to reduce emissions so that in the months to come the government can steer high carbon industries towards the cleaner, healthier and more resilient future we all need.”

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