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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:

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service 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 see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. 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.
  3. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at adviceguide.org.uk
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  5. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014  service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.