London, England — (METERING.COM) — February 13, 2013 – Britain’s gas and electricity regulator Ofgem has launched a final consultation on the code of practice for use by suppliers when installing smart metering systems for residential and small business customers.
The code and the underpinning license conditions are intended to deliver a positive consumer experience before, during and after the installation visit. The intention is for this positive experience to be delivered through new consumer protections, and also by empowering consumers by implementing measures to help them engage with their new smart metering system following the installation visit.
Pre-installation, suppliers will be required to take certain actions when engaging with customers and to adhere to a number of rules when scheduling installation visits. They will also have rules to follow when recruiting and training staff installing smart metering systems. However, an outstanding question is the smart metering-specific accreditation and training requirements that should be set out in the code. Another is what if any charges should be made to customers when installation visits are cancelled or rescheduled.
Similarly, during the installation visit suppliers will be required to adhere to a number of general rules – for example, ensuring that they properly identify themselves, the supplier they represent and the purpose of the visit. Here outstanding issues pertain to the face-to-face marketing of products and services that may take place.
Post-installation, the focus is on rules for suppliers to provide customers with an installation feedback mechanism and complaint resolution.
The code consultation is open until March 8, after which the final code of practice will be designated. Ofgem expects the code to be in place before the summer.