Citizens Advice responds to proposals on the roll-out of the smart meter programme by DECC
19 August 2011
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice, said:
“Citizens Advice welcomes a mandatory, license-backed code of practice for the compulsory installation of smart meters by energy companies, but we are disappointed that DECC has not prohibited sales activity at the point of installation.
“It is vital that consumers’ trust in the integrity and efficiency of the project is protected if it is to be a success. While we are pleased that suppliers must now get written consent from their customers before they carry out any sales activity during the installation visit, we are concerned that many consumers will still be vulnerable to exploitation by commission-driven sales people.
“We recommend a clear awareness campaign so that consumers know what to expect when they come to have their smart meter installed, and to ensure they know what to do if their supplier is not abiding by the code.
“Having a code of practice is vital to protect consumers, but it will only work if suppliers comply with it. Ofgem must play a key role in ensuring that this happens.”
Notes to editors
- The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more information in England and Wales see www.citizensadvice.org.uk
- The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality. For online advice and information see www.adviceguide.org.uk
- Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.9 million problems from April 2011 to March 2012. For full 2011/2012 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
- Out of 22 national charities, the Citizens Advice service is ranked by the general public as being the most helpful, approachable, professional, informative, effective / cost effective, reputable and accountable (nfpSynergy’s Brand Attributes survey, May 2010).
- Most Citizens Advice service staff are trained volunteers, working at around 3,500 service outlets across England and Wales.