Ofgem announced yesterday that it would take over the code of practice that governs independent energy price comparison sites such as uSwitch, called the Confidence Code.
Previously governed by Consumer Focus, it was unclear which body would take over the code when the government announced in 2010 that the the statutory consumer organisation covering England, Wales and Scotland would be abolished.
The announcement that the energy and gas market regulator, Ofgem, would oversee the code is assuring news for consumers, says Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch:
“This is a welcome move as it will provide ongoing reassurance for consumers.
“With energy prices at an all-time high, consumers need as much help and support as possible in managing their energy costs. Being able to shop around for the best deal is an important part of this and consumers need to have the assurance that accredited sites are working independently and responsibly for their needs.”
What is the Confidence Code?
The Confidence Code puts forth a set of minimum requirements for price comparison services to meet in order to be accredited by Ofgem.
One of those requirements is that the comparison business acts independently of suppliers, so that consumers can be sure that the options, prices and suggestions they are presented with have been calculated and displayed in a “fair and unbiased way”.
This governance is key in the current energy market, adds Robinson: “It is vital that consumers feel confident enough to engage in the market; and so they must have trust in price comparison services. This code, and Ofgem’s weight behind it, will underpin this.”