Energylinx UK Energy Industry News Service
September 25, 2008
Energylinx endorsed by energywatch again
Energylinx are delighted to receive confirmation from energywatch that we have been accredited for the third time.
Energylinx was one of the founder members of energywatch and has held accreditation to the Code since 2003. With the responsibilities of energywatch about to transfer to Consumer Focus in a few days time Energylinx looks forward to the continuation of the Code itself.
The full press release from energywatch can be viewed below.
Consumers can trust accredited energy price comparison sites
With millions of consumers seeking expert help on switching supplier in a bid to cut their energy bills energywatch is pleased to announce that all the online comparison services accredited by the energywatch Confidence Code have passed a stringent audit of their services.
The providers are subject to regular scrutiny to ensure the information they provide to consumers is accurate and comprehensive, and once a year they are independently audited to make sure they are continuing to meet the high standards set by the Confidence Code.
Tim Whittle, energywatch Code Manager, said: energywatch has made the Confidence Code even more robust this year and the price comparison Service Providers have shown how much they value the accreditation by raising their game to meet the challenges we set them. Consumers using an accredited site can be 100% confident that they are seeing all tariffs and that the results are completely unbiased.
All of the providers who reapplied for Confidence Code accreditation have been successful. I am also hopeful that there will soon be some new names among the list of accredited providers: several have applied and will soon be going through the compliance audit process.
In a world where consumers are bombarded with online advice and comparison type information the energywatch Confidence Code is unique. No other industry has its internet comparison providers so tightly scrutinised by a consumer watchdog operated accreditation scheme that is so robust. The scheme will continue under the new consumer Advocacy body, Consumer Focus, which is due to launch on 1 October.
energywatch believes that other industries and markets would do well to develop accreditation schemes that force providers to live up to high standards. Tim Whittle continued: Consumers can go online to compare financial services providers, car, home and travel insurance deals, and everything from loan deals to life assurance but only in energy can consumers take comfort from the protection offered by an impartial and independently audited accreditation scheme. To protect consumers, regulatory bodies and watchdogs should examine the Confidence Code model and see how it could be applied to their sectors. ends
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Price Comparison Service Providers comment:
Gareth Kloet of Confused.com, said We are delighted to have once again successfully passed the energywatch Confidence Code accreditation and consider this endorsement as being synonymous with the way in which we operate. Providing customers with easy to understand, transparent information that allows them to make an informed decision is central to our philosophy. energywatch has done a fantastic job since its establishment in 2000 and has been an extremely effective catalyst for change in policy within the industry which in turn has led to beneficial changes for customers. There are still significant challenges ahead in what is still a very confusing industry for the majority and we look forward to working with and supporting Consumer focus in the achievement of its aims.
Mark Todd Co-Founder & Marketing Director, Fundraising Innovations Ltd, said energyhelpline is delighted to have once again been accredited by energywatch as an accurate and impartial service for customers. We have been working with energywatch for the last 7 years and believe that their work has helped millions of consumers in the UK. energywatch has led from the front in the fight for consumer justice, providing practical help for consumers, and even taking on OFGEM and the Government. It would appear to us that they have been punished for being too vocal, too much on the customers side! Hence the decision to effectively close them down. It is sad to see the end of energywatch as an entity for consumers and hope that Consumer Focus will provide real practical help to consumers as well as making good policy decisions. energyhelpline shall work with them with this aim - to benefit the pockets of the individual consumer in this turbulent financial time.
Ken Geddes of Energylinx, said As founder members and strong advocates of the Confidence Code as a visible signal to consumers that they are using a transparent and professional service are pleased not only with the continued inclusion of Energylinx on the list of Service Providers, but on the fact that all those who were subject to full audit and reassessment were successful, which should be seen as a mark of the integrity of those working in the sector. Energylinx looks forward to the launch of Consumer Focus and hopes that this will bring additional transparency to the UK energy markets.
Mark Read Managing Director of Home Advisory Service, said We are proud to have been, once again accredited by energywatch., said â€œWe look forward to working with Consumer Focus and hope that the benefits of using fully accredited comparison sites will be championed to the full.
Scott Byrom Utilities Manager at Moneysupermarket.com, said As the UK's leading price comparison site, moneysupermarket.com is delighted to maintain its 100 per cent commitment to the energywatch Confidence Code. The Code plays an integral part in reassuring consumers they will find the best possible price for their energy through an accredited comparison sites. The development of the Code, and the manner in which it operates, provides consumers with much needed transparency in what can be a complex market. By doing so, the Code will continue to install trust in accredited sites and ultimately protect the consumer. Moneysupermarket.com looks forward to working with Energywatch, and the new Customer Focus, to ensure the Code reflects the energy market in the best possible way.
Richard George Managing Director of SaveOnYourBills, said SaveOnYourBills.co.uk are delighted to have passed the energywatch Audit having worked with the UK energy regulators for almost 10 years in the UK energy switching market. Whilst sad to see the good Energywatch brand be lost after all the hard work they have done, SaveOnYourBills.co.uk welcomes the New Consumer Focus and hope they can take on the challenge of helping the UK consumer in the UK energy markets.
Sean Gardner, director at MoneyExpert.com, said: We are pleased that Simply Switch has won accreditation to the Confidence Code.
Alison Morrison Head of Non-Subscription Marketing at Which? Said We are delighted that Switch with Which? has been accredited by energywatch for the third year in a row. It is essential that consumers can identify energy switching sites that adhere to the high standards set by this code of confidence.
Joe Malinowski, founder of TheEnergyShop.com, said: Everyone at TheEnergyShop.com is very pleased to have been accredited with the new energywatch confidence code. Our company has worked hard to offer consumers a service which is easy-to-use and shows the very best deal. It is now more important than ever that people have confidence in their price comparison service; not just ones that are energywatch accredited but are also financially robust. Faced with record energy bills TheEnergyShop.com is on hand to help consumers not only get a better deal, but in the safe knowledge that we will be around to follow through.
Richard Eden of Ukpower.co.uk, said We would like to acknowledge the excellent work carried out by energywatch in pursuit of reliable and impartial comparison services for domestic energy customers. Ukpower.co.uk was one of the first energy comparison services to be approved by Ofgem and energywatch and has consistently followed guidelines to ensure first class services for our customers. Now, Ukpower.co.uk looks forward to continuing this good work with Consumer Focus with the same objectives to assist customers find the best deals available for their gas end electricity requirements.
Florian Ritzmann of Xelector.com, said Unravelit.com are pleased to see the Confidence Code continue under the leadership of Consumer Focus. There are dark days ahead, and a strong Code to protect consumers can only help.
Nick White, Director of Products at uSwitch.com, said This sends out a very clear message that the information and service we provide is accurate, comprehensive and completely unbiased. In a time of rising prices and financial uncertainty, consumers who want to cut the cost of household bills can use our service with absolute confidence that they are doing the right thing.
Notes to Editors
The operation of the Confidence Code will pass to Consumer Focus after energywatch is abolished on 30 September 2008.
energywatch was established under the Utilities Act 2000 and will be abolished under the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007.
For information on the new arrangements contact Rob Forsyth of the Consumer Focus start-up team on 020 7654 9472 or 07900 263014.
About the energywatch Confidence Code: It is a voluntary Code of Practice and not a mandatory one enforced by the regulators.
Service Providers have to agree to an annual compliance audit carried out by an independent auditor and pay the costs associated with it.
Accreditation is not just a Kitemark or stamp of approval, itâ€™s a requirement that Service Providers comply with the Code at all times and they are tested regularly for continual compliance.
The Code and Code Guidance can quickly be updated to reflect changes in the energy market.
Energy suppliers insist that new price comparison Service Providers are accredited to the Code, before they will agree to enter into commercial relationships with them.
The sites currently accredited to the Code represent all the major players in the energy price comparison market. They account for more than 90% of all online switches performed in the energy market.
The Confidence Code protects Consumers, other Service Providers and Energy suppliers. For consumers it ensures information is impartial, accurate and up to date. Whilst for Service Providers it ensures that any anti-competitive behaviour is minimised and it gives them equal prominence in the comparison market. For energy suppliers, it ensures that their products are listed impartially on the Service Providers websites, regardless of their commercial agreements.