Ofgem proposes to revoke npower’s provisional order for switching trial

The regulator, however, ‘remains disappointed’ with the Big Six supplier’s conduct throughout this matter

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Ofgem is proposing to revoke the confirmed provisional order imposed on npower last November which required the supplier to fully co-operate in the regulator’s switching trial.

The Big Six company had agreed to allow only 50,000 out of 100,000 of its customers to take part in the collective switching trial initially, following which Ofgem issued the provisional order.

npower fully participated in the consumer engagement trial – which took place between October and December 2018 – after the regulator obtained an injunction in the High Court, “after some delay or providing incomplete information”, in some instances.

However, while the supplier did everything that was required of it eventually, Ofgem added it “remains disappointed” with npower’s conduct throughout this matter, which it hopes is never repeated.

The regulator said: “This was the first occasion where a regulated entity refused to comply with a statutory order issued by the Authority, requiring the Authority to initiate enforcement proceedings in court.

“While the Authority respects the right of regulated entities to challenge its decisions, such challenges must be brought in the appropriate forum at the appropriate time. It is unacceptable to challenge a regulatory obligation by way of refusal to comply with it and the Authority makes clear that it will not hesitate to deal robustly with such conduct in future.”

npower told ELN it is not commenting on the issue.

Ofgem is satisfied the order is no longer required and is therefore proposing to revoke it, inviting responses until 15th April 2019.

It said the Active Choice Collective Switch Autumn Trial, which took place over December 2018 and January 2019, was successful and provided it with useful information, insight and data that will inform its future policy decisions.

Several thousand consumers previously on expensive default tariffs chose to switch to cheaper deals as part of the latest trial – the results will be published later this summer.

Its previous trial found more than one in five disengaged energy customers saw average savings of around £300 a year on their energy bills.