Ofgem has approved new industry rules designed to “protect and empower” domestic and business energy consumers.
The code, which comes into effect on June 1st of this year, has been developed by representatives from across the energy industry, with input from consumer groups.
Ofgem has further strengthened the code’s rules on face-to-face marketing following consultation, including making suppliers clearly state that consumers are under no obligation to receive face-to-face marketing.
Other measures include:
• Suppliers are prevented from conducting any sales when installing smart metering systems for domestic consumers
• Suppliers must gain prior consent from domestic consumers before the day of the visit in order to conduct face-to-face marketing
• Suppliers must adhere to detailed rules when obtaining prior consent for face-to-face marketing, plus behavioural rules should they seek to market to domestic consumers having gained prior consent
• Suppliers are prevented from levying an upfront charge for the supply and installation of a standard smart metering system to domestic consumers
• Suppliers must adhere to a number of requirements catering specifically for vulnerable consumers. Suppliers must take steps to identify consumers with specific needs in advance of the visit; and take steps to cater for installations where a carer needs to be present
• A section directing suppliers to provide information, advice and a practical demonstration to help consumers use their smart metering system and raise awareness of energy efficiency
Philip Cullum, Ofgem’s partner for consumer policy said the new rules establish a “rigorous protection regime that puts consumers first”.
“With the roll-out of smart meters getting fully under way next year, it is essential that householders and businesses have confidence that meter installations are done in a fair and professional way,” he added.
The code is supported with licence conditions, and powers to levy fines if rules are breached will also be implemented.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Baroness Verma said: “Consumers are at the heart of the smart metering programme – which is designed to help people become more in control of the energy they use, and more aware of how to lower their energy bills.
“This code is central to providing a positive customer experience during installation – including protecting customers from unwanted marketing and ensuring installers explain how the meter can be used to improve energy efficiency.
“I am very grateful for the efforts that industry have made in developing the code, and welcome Ofgem’s decision to approve it.”
Designation Of The Smart Metering Installation Code Of PracticeClick on the title to open a documentTitleDesignation of the Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice
- PDF – 90Kb Document overviewThis open letter designates the Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice for use by all domestic and micro-business suppliers installing compliant smart meters. The code sets out rules for suppliers to adhere to when conducting installations.Associated documentsSmart Metering Installation Code of Practice – PDF – 1070KbDocument typeOtherPublication date25/04/2013Area of workSocial ActionFurther informationThis document’s parent webpage