Ofgem announces protections for low-income energy customers
A timetable for the reform of the gas and electricity sector has been mapped out by industry regulator Ofgem.
The watchdog confirmed that several new initiatives will be put in place next year - protecting people against building up debt problems due to their high energy costs.
Included in the schemes are plans to crack down on doorstep lending, which sees vulnerable customers take out fuel tariffs due to hard-sell techniques from suppliers.
Meanwhile, annual bills are also to be sent out for the first time in 2010, with customer bills also becoming much clearer.
Andrew Wright, a senior partner at Ofgem, said: "As each measure comes into play, consumers - including low-income households and small businesses - will be armed with better information and protection.
"That will give them more muscle in the market to put a greater competitive squeeze on the suppliers."
Ofgem warned earlier this month that a price spike caused by energy shortages could see gas and electricity bills briefly rising by 60% over the next decade.
An overall above-inflation increase of 25 per cent by 2020 was also forecast by the watchdog.