The Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich asked a question on obligations of affordable energy providers to offer alternatives to electronic communication to those in need, during a debate on energy costs for vulnerable households on 31st January 2023:
The Lord Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich: My Lords, I recognise that my question connects with the previous Oral Question. Listening to clergy in my diocese who are operating food banks and warm spaces, they say to me that one of the biggest challenges that vulnerable households are facing as they try to pay their energy bills is accessing information, particularly when it is available only online. What assurance can the Minister give that those responsible for delivering affordable energy, including Ofgem, will use or require the use of alternatives to electronic forms of communication when trying to reach those in need, including partnering with service providers such as food banks?
Lord Callanan (Con): Ofgem tries really hard to connect the most vulnerable consumers, to make sure they get the support that they require. There are a number of different forms of payment: people can still pay their bills manually using cash if they wish to do so, and there are prepayment meters which are manually upgraded with tokens, as well as those that are available to update online. There is a variety of payment methods, but we stand ready to assist vulnerable consumers in every way we can.
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