Firms supplying gas and electricity to UK households are obliged by law to provide customers with energy efficiency advice and have clear codes of practice outlining their offer. As a consequence, suppliers are among the main providers of energy advice, and, since the liberalisation of the energy markets in the 1990s, the number of suppliers has increased, expanding the range of advice materials. Previous research revealed widespread inadequacies in the quality of advice services and limited value for customers. However, to date a thorough examination of the extent to which the codes of practice meet the regulatory guidance and the gap between such commitments and practical delivery has not occurred.
Key research Question
The study sought to review the standards and content of existing codes of practice developed by major energy suppliers, comparing the approaches of different companies and those across the sector as a whole. In doing so, it aimed to identify some core principles of good practice as well as areas for improvement going forward, which would enable new entrants to the market to develop improved codes.
Summary of activity
The main activity consisted of a review of the written codes of practice produced by major domestic fuel suppliers in the UK, which outline their responsibilities and commitments on energy advice. The research also looked at the submissions made to energy suppliers and regulators during the development of these codes.
The report also contains a model code of practice based on an evaluation of the content of existing codes.