OFGEM approves new rules to protect consumers during Smart Meter roll-out
- New licence-backed code to protect consumers, including a ban on sales
during smart meter installation visit
- Code governs how suppliers should help consumers get the best out of
their smart meter
- New rules have been developed by industry and Consumer Focus
Ofgem has today approved a new industry code designed to protect and empower consumers during the smart meter roll-out.
The Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice includes strong protections around sales and
marketing for domestic consumers, including a ban on conducting any sales during the installation
visit. For any face-to-face marketing to be conducted during the installation visit, a consumer has
to give consent before the day of the visit. 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. The code is backed by
licence conditions and the power to levy fines if rules are breached.
The code comes into effect on 1 June 2013, ahead of the mandated government roll-out of smart
meters from 2014. The code has been developed by representatives from across the energy
industry such as Energy UK, with input from consumer groups including Consumer Focus.
Philip Cullum, Ofgem’s Partner for Consumer Policy said: “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. This new Ofgem-approved code,
developed by industry with extensive input from consumer groups, establishes a rigorous
protection regime that puts consumers first.”
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.”
Lawrence Slade, Chief Operating Officer, Energy UK, said: “We are very pleased with the
Ofgem announcement that the Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice has been approved.
This is a significant milestone for the programme and also for Energy UK, as we have led the
development of the code over the last 2.5 years. This has been a very comprehensive process
involving a great number of stakeholders. We are confident the result is a code of practice that will
ensure the consumer experience of the smart metering installation is a positive one.”