It now takes just seconds to scan your energy bill's personalised QR code to get an instant energy comparison. uSwitch explains how to do it.
With the free uSwitch mobile app for iPhone and Android, you simply hold your phone over your bill's QR code and the app does the rest! You can even scan a digital copy of your bill by holding the app in front of the screen. Watch how it works:
Scan your way to energy savings!
With the uSwitch app for iPhone and Android, you can get an instant, bespoke energy comparisonFind out more
What's a QR code?
A QR code is simply a type of barcode that must be read by a smartphone via a QR code scanning app.The 'QR' stands for quick response.
Once scanned, the reader interprets the code’s data, and then can display that information in either text format or by taking the user to a mobile-optimised webpage.
QR codes and energy bills
So, what does this all mean for you and your energy costs?
Back in 2014, then-Energy Secretary Ed Davey stated that despite studies showing that using technology like QR codes would help consumers better navigate the energy market, no suppliers had yet volunteered to implement them.
Therefore, the government, under the Energy Act, made it a requirement for energy bills to contain the bar code. A DECC press release on the matter stated:
"Incorporating QR codes ... will encourage the development of applications that use this data and will allow smartphone users to transfer valuable data from their bill (such as current tariff name and consumption) to their smartphone/tablet computer, helping them to control their consumption and costs, for example through uploading energy tariff information seamlessly to a price comparison website"
Scan your bill for an instant, personalised comparison!
Get the uSwitch app for iPhone to compare deals using your bill's QR codeDownload now from App Store
When will I see QR codes on my energy bill?
If your energy supplier has 50,000 customers or more (that's all the big six plus the larger small suppliers like Ovo and First Utility), you already have a personalised QR code on your bill.
If you manage your account online, simply log in to view your bill - your digital bill will also carry the code, which you scan on the screen.
What kind of info will be in my QR code?
Your bill's QR code will contain all the info you need to compare and switch energy supplier.
- Your plan name
- Your plan's rates
- Your consumption (how much gas and/or electricity you use)
- Annual bill period dates
However, how that data is fed back to you may be the tricky part. You may see a block of text, or you may simply be shown a URL that will take you to your supplier’s website to a page with your plan info on it.
While both those options might seem rather underwhelming, this is where price comparison websites like uSwitch can step in and help you best utilise QR codes to switch.
Which takes us to the next question...
How do I use my energy bill’s QR code?
To use the QR code, you will need a smartphone. This can be your own or you can borrow a trusted friend or family member’s device.
The smartphone will need an app that can read QR codes. If you have an iPhone or an Android device, you can download uSwitch’s energy comparison and switching app — which has QR code scanning capability — for free.
Once you've got the app on your device, follow the instructions to scan your code and you'll be shown a list of cheaper energy deals.
Using your QR code to switch energy supplier
DECC’s intention for the QR codes was that it would encourage development by price comparison sites to use this data to make switching energy supplier simpler.
uSwitch has done just that, adding a QR code reader feature into its brand-new app in June 2015.
Right now, you can scan your bill’s QR code via our iPhone app, and we’ll seamlessly apply the data to your price comparison.
Download the app now to ensure you’re ready!
My energy bill's QR code didn't work - why not?
QR codes are a relatively new initiative, and there are expected to be some "teething problems" around implementing them.
As uSwitch already have a working QR code scanner in place, we have been able to pinpoint where the first published codes have failed and why.
Check below to see if your issue is explained below. And remember, don't give up on QR codes if your first try didn't work. It will likely be addressed so that you can try again with your next bill.
It's not the right code
There are two possible scenarios here
- You scanned the wrong code on your bill
- You scanned a non-energy bill code
1. If you have definitely scanned a code from the right bill, check if there is another code included - some bills have two codes.
The wrong code is smaller and located by the address. It looks a lot like a QR code but it isn't — it's a code that is used by post officials to track returned post.
Check the rest of your bill pages for the right code — it should have supporting text by it to explain what it is and what it's for. The correct code should be at least 2 cm x 2 cm.
2. Because energy comparison bill scanning apps are only designed to scan one type of code, if you scan any other kind you'll get an error.
The code's info was formatted unexpectedly
This includes several kinds of errors that all have to do with how the code's data — including payment method, plan name or supplier name — is formatted, which is still being standardised by suppliers and interpreted by scanning apps.
If any one of the pieces of information in your QR code can't be mapped correctly due the fromat, none of the info can be pulled in.
If this happens, take note that you can still run a comparison in the uSwitch app — you'll just have to enter those details manually.
While suppliers work to better format the codes, the uSwitch app team are working to understand more about the unexpected formatting so it can be correctly mapped on our end.
As time goes by, we expect to see fewer and fewer errors around this issue.
To help us update our app where possible, be sure to use the "Provide Feedback" option in the app menu if your QR code does not scan properly. And be sure to try again with your next bill.