Ovo Energy announces £50 million support package for customers - including debt repayment holidays for prepayment users
Ovo Energy has announced a new support package for its customers, which will kick in this winter. Crucially, it plans to introduce a payment holiday for prepayment customers in debt from 1 October. Other measures include increasing the amount of emergency credit prepay users can get, offering free energy saving products and boiler services, plus additional funding for its grants scheme.
The new £50 million package comes after energy regulator Ofgem announced a shocking 80% hike to the energy price cap from October, taking energy bills for a typical household to £3,549 a year – up nearly £1,600 a year.
For more info on the help you can get with your bills, whether you're an Ovo customer or not, see our full What to do if you're struggling to pay for energy guide.
Help confirmed for Ovo customers
The new measures will be introduced by Ovo from Saturday 1 October, and will include the following support:
- Payment holidays for all prepayment meter customers in energy debt. If you're paying back debt on your prepayment meter, any further repayments due will be paused, meaning over winter your top-ups will go towards the actual energy you use. We're checking when exactly this will take force and we'll update this story when we know more. Ovo's prepayment meter customers are supplied under its 'Boost' brand.
- Increase in emergency credit for prepayment meter users from £5 to £15. This is to allow more breathing space when you run out of energy and can't get to a shop to top-up. We've asked how long this temporary increase will last and we'll update this story when we know more.
- Free energy saving products. Such as smart thermostats and electric blankets, targeted at those most in need.
- Funding for Ovo's hardship scheme, which is currently closed. We'll update our energy suppliers' grants MSE News story when we know more. This story also details grants from other suppliers, including British Gas's scheme, which is open to non-customers.
- Free boiler servicing. Worth around £90 according to the supplier. We're checking who can get this and how they can apply.
- Additional support for those paying by direct debit or on receipt of a bill. If you pay by direct debit, Ovo will give you the option to reduce payments by 15% to give breathing room, while those that pay when they get a bill will be able to create a bespoke repayment plan over 36 months (up from 24 months).
- No energy disconnections this winter for those who fall behind on bills. We've asked for more info on this and how long the respite will last and we'll update this story when we know more.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder of OVO said: "The stakes are high but the scale of ambition needs to be higher. With the new Prime Minister due to arrive next week, there isn't a moment to waste to find a way out of this crisis. Important and difficult decisions need to be made quickly. Some of these will need to take immediate effect, some in the months and years ahead. But we must start now."