New guaranteed standards: 1 May 2020

Guidance published: May 2020

As part of its work to improve customer experience when switching supplier, Ofgem has introduced new guaranteed standards. These standards apply to domestic customers only and took effect from 1 May 2020 (see Ofgem’s announcement).

For clarity, this document is intended to provide energy suppliers with information on our general decision-making principles relating to these new standards and some guidance on what to include in case files.

The new standards are as follows:

• Obligation to complete a supplier transfer

These standards set out in the regulations place obligations on suppliers to complete a supplier transfer within certain time periods.

• Avoidance of erroneous transfers

These standards place obligations on suppliers to avoid erroneous transfers by ensuring there is a valid contract in place with the customer.

• Provision of a final bill

These standards place obligations on suppliers to issue a final bill within six weeks of the date they are no longer the supplier or the contract has been terminated.

General decision-making principles

When reviewing complaints about delayed switches, erroneous transfers, or delayed final bills, we will consider whether the supplier met the standards set out in the new regulations. Within its consultation document and final decision document, Ofgem has provided clarity on how these standards should be applied. Where necessary we will consider these documents when deciding how to interpret the standards.

If a supplier has not met the standards we will consider whether it provided the standard compensation payment in line with the rules. In circumstances where it has not made the standard compensation payment, we will make an award that ensures the customer is compensated in line with the regulations.

We will also consider whether the standard compensation payment adequately reflects the detriment experienced by the customer. In most cases we expect the standard compensation payment to do so. However, where the detriment experienced is not adequately redressed by these payments, we may decide to make an additional award.

Case file guidance

We would expect the following information to be provided in a supplier’s case file to support that they had met the new standards:

• Complaints about delayed switches

If there was a delay in taking over a supply, energy suppliers would support their case if they provide details explaining the reason for the delay along with the actions it had taken. For example, if the reason for the delay was because additional information was required to complete the switch, providing a copy of the requested information in their case file would help the investigation officer when deciding whether the supplier had met the standard.

• Complaints about an erroneous transfer

If the gaining supplier believes that they had a valid contract with the customer, their case would be supported if they provided evidence to demonstrate that a contract had been agreed. This could include a copy of a call recording or a screenshot of the information submitted by the customer.

• Complaints about not receiving a final bill

If a customer complains that they did not receive their final bill, a supplier would support their case if they provide a copy of the final bill they issued along with evidence to demonstrate the date the bill was issued to the customer.