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OVO Offers £50 Million Financial Support Package for Customers

OVO-Energy

The UK’s second-largest energy supplier has launched a hardship fund for customers struggling to afford energy payments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.

The OVO Coronavirus Hardship Scheme will allocate £50 million of relief, in the form of temporary reductions in bills or top-up credit for prepayment customers for up to three months. Customers can apply for the support starting tomorrow Wednesday 8 April by contacting OVO customer services directly.                                                                                       

OVO chief executive Stephen Fitzpatrick said: "Now, in addition to the health impacts of coronavirus, financial hardship for many of our customers is setting in. This hardship scheme will provide some immediate support for those most impacted by coronavirus.

He said energy suppliers and regulator Ofgem were working to develop a long-term solution to assist customers struggling with their utility bills, many of whom have seen their incomes fall and their home energy consumption rise. 

However, “this plan will take some time to put into action. In the meantime, we are doing what we can to give reassurance and support to our customers. It is essential we find a way to keep the lights on in every home in Britain in the coming months,” he added.

Last week the Financial Times reported that trade body Energy UK, of which OVO is a member, had approached the government about a £100 million a month loan scheme which would enable suppliers to offer payment holidays to customers impacted by the pandemic.

OVO itself has been impacted by the outbreak, announcing last week that it had furloughed 3,400 employees, a third of its workforce. OVO said furloughed staff were primarily involved in smart meter installations and meter readings, which are only being performed in emergencies during the lockdown. Furloughed staff will receive 80% of their salaries through the government’s job retention scheme.

Earlier this year OVO entered the ranks of the Big Six with the £500 million acquisition of SSE’s retail arm and now serves five million accounts.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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