Energy provider, Eon has warned that the impending Government energy price cap will put off suppliers from serving vulnerable customers.

At a Westminster Forum Energy market conference, Sara Vaughan, Political & Regulatory affairs director at Eon said “The price cap must include sufficient leeway to reflect the additional costs of serving vulnerable customers.”

Vaughan demonstrated that figures show that customers are disproportionately concentrated amongst the  ‘Big 6’ energy suppliers, she said: “We don’t want a situation where customers in vulnerable situations become less attractive to supply because they cost more and potentially more than is covered under the price cap. If you are hard-nosed, it makes sense to only have those customers that are cheapest to serve: the savvy, agile well-off, well-educated customers that give you the lowest cost base.”

“As the number of smaller suppliers grows, it’s creating a situation of haves and have-nots. Those customers who haven’t switched and remain with existing incumbent suppliers pick up the costs of paying for obligations on behalf of the more engaged customers who switch. We have to ensure there is a level playing field between suppliers by removing ECO and Warm Homes Discount exemptions and Ofgem ensuring suppliers’ costs reflect different customer portfolios and different suppliers’ business models.”

“There is a real risk that vulnerable customers could unwittingly lose access to support under the schemes by switching suppliers in search of a better deal.”