Energy provider to open £40million customer support package to help with bills

Energy provider OVO will be opening an “extensive” support package worth nearly £40million to help vulnerable customers struggling with bills over the winter months.

The package will be open from October 1 and will provide those eligible with financial and practical support, from emergency top-up credit and payment reductions to energy-saving products to improve household efficiency.

Raman Bhatia, CEO of OVO, said: “Our Customer Support Package will provide immediate support to our customers who need it most right now. By working with partners like StepChange we can continue to directly help people facing hardship this winter and beyond.”

Ofgem’s energy price cap will fall from £2,074 a year for an average household to £1,923 from October to December and while this means rates will drop slightly, bills still remain staggering high.

Though the coming winter remains “challenging” for UK households, Vikki Brownridge, CEO of charity StepChange said: “The support announced by OVO will offer welcome relief to those continuing to struggle with the cost of living crisis.”

READ MORE: Energy expert shares the check you ‘need’ to make before the price cap change

OVO’s customer support package

OVO’s customer support package dedicates nearly £40millon investment in payment support that will continue its suspension of pre-payment meter warrant activity until March 2024.

According to the provider, it will also provide emergency top-up credit or temporary payment reductions to eligible customers.

The package also includes £1million worth of free energy-saving products that help households stay warm and reduce their energy consumption, such as electric blankets and mattress toppers, draught excluders, LED bulbs and SMART sockets.

OVO will also provide £500,000 in funding to support key charities on the frontline of the cost of living crisis, including StepChange and Trussell Trust.

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This fund will also go towards trialling community energy hubs that provide local communities with education and direct support in understanding how to manage their energy consumption.

How to apply for OVO’s customer support package

OVO’s Customer Support Package is available to customers of OVO Energy, Boost and SSE Energy Services.

In order to complete an application, OVO said customers will need certain information to hand, such as:

  • Monthly disposable income – online tools can help work this out
  • People may also need to provide up-to-date meter readings.

A statement on its website reads: “We can only accept your first application so please make sure all the information you enter is accurate.”

OVO is also calling on the Government to introduce new measures to help vulnerable Britons this winter.

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This includes fronting a campaign to remove the standing charge, which is a fixed amount of money people must pay regardless of how much energy is used.

While this charge is set to increase in October, OVO noted that it will not be passing on the permitted rise.

It’s also calling for a new social tariff to be put in place by winter 2024 to protect those who cannot afford to heat their homes through the sustained period of high prices to come.

Mr Bhatia said: “Energy bills are set to stay high despite the recent price cap reduction. This leaves many households with stretched finances struggling to pay. We are calling for a reform of the unpopular standing charge and a social tariff for the most financially vulnerable.”

Ms Brownridge added: “Government must look at all options to deliver more to support consumers – particularly those on pre-payment meters – ahead of another bleak winter. StepChange has long called for the implementation of a social tariff, which will help to shield the most vulnerable in our society from continued high energy costs.”

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