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Energy UK and the Energy Regulation TPI Review

energy uk logoThe Art of Denial – the Energy UK Way

Despite their members being fined an astonishing £39m for a series of mis-selling activities, Energy UK believes energy suppliers and their agents should be explicitly excluded from any new rules proposed by Ofgem and designed to eradicate mis-selling from the business energy market.

That shocking sentiment is laid bare in Energy UK’s response to Ofgem’s consultation on Proposals for Regulating Non-Domestic TPIs.

Energy UK say when asked who should be covered by any regulation and who should not that:

“[Our] Members also believe that primary sales and supplier agents should be removed from this list to avoid duplication of regulation as direct sales agents selling a single supplier’s products would already be covered by existing licence conditions. Members do, however, believe that ‘Secondary Agents’ (i.e. those sales agents not directly employed by a supplier or agents that sell multiple suppliers’ products) should be captured by the definition.”

The perversity of this incredible demand is that Energy UK want ‘agents’ working on behalf of a single supplier, the favoured focus of rogue TPIs, to be explicitly exempt from any regulation.

In direct contrast Energy UK want those TPIs who provide services across the whole market of business energy suppliers and therefore fair representation to be the sole focus of any legislation.

The claim that the former shouldn’t be held to minimum standards of behaviour because of pre-existing licence conditions would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. £39m serious that is.

As part of their policy of utter hypocrisy Energy UK add that they believe direct regulation of TPIs, (inevitably leading to increased cost and less efficiency and therefore poorer deals for customers), is the most appropriate course for Ofgem to take as according to Energy UK:

“Problems exist in the non-domestic TPI market”

These unquantified and unspecified problems of course sit in stark contrast to the £39m worth of both quantified and specified problems perpetrated by Energy UKs members since 2012!

In the final highlight of an unprecedented lack of self-awareness, Energy UK and their members also unanimously call for any code to:

“ensure transparency on price and commission. Transparency is key to ensuring that TPIs are not inappropriately incentivised when advising a customer, for example by selectively promoting products based on the commission the TPI will earn, rather than the benefit and/or price to the customer.”

It is to be assumed that Energy UK’s supplier members will similarly commit to disclosing their marketing spend on sponsorship, direct advertising and everyone’s favourite nuisance cold call centres in their strive for transparency and to make it abundantly clear to each and every one of their customers how much this ‘service’ is costing them.

We won’t hold our breath.

For full disclosure Business juice have called for:

  • A code of conduct to be implemented by Ofgem to cover all business energy sales interactions whether via a Supplier, TPI, Agent or any other party.
  • Ofgem to build on the existing, fit for purpose, E.ON sponsored TPI Code of Conduct.

For more information visit our TPI Code of Conduct Response

In addition, Business Juice, since our 2009 inception as uSwitch for Business have operated a Customer Charter that commits us to, on request, sharing full details of any commission we may potentially earn for placing our customers energy contract with their chosen supplier.

For more information visit our Customer Charter.

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