QR codes to be printed on energy bills to help customers compare suppliers

QR codeQR (Quick Response) codes are to be introduced on consumer energy bills to help bill-payers instantly compare prices from different utility suppliers.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey today announced the government’s plans to introduce QR (Quick Response) codes to energy bills so consumers can get an instant cross-market comparison.

This is the latest announcement from the government to help consumers make the switch and get a better deal, with collective switching and simpler tariffs already introduced. Davey said:

“We’re determined to make energy markets work better for consumers – but despite all the evidence showing that QR codes on bills would make a real difference to people, energy companies still haven’t done anything about it.

“That’s why we’re acting to make sure people have a quick, straightforward way to compare the best deal for them with a simple swipe of their phone.

“Consumers now have a real choice with the number of small energy suppliers doubling since 2010. By opening up the energy market and the steps we are taking to make switching easy, we have already seen more than 1.5million people make the switch in the last quarter alone.

Despite a feasibility study concluding that there were no barriers to the implementation of QR codes on customer energy bills and that the technology would in fact be helpful in increasing consumer engagement, there has been no voluntary move by the energy sector to introduce QR codes.

The Government is therefore taking action under the Energy Act and will look to modify the energy company licences to have QR codes included as part of energy bills.

QR codes will also benefit vulnerable consumers or those who do not use smart phones, meaning people with smartphones will be able to help friends and family less comfortable with technology, and trusted members of community and advice organisations including those from the ‘Big Energy Saving Network’ to be able to easily access accurate information to help people who need additional support.

The consultation being published today will seek views from across the industry including third party suppliers who can contribute to the development of smartphone or tablet application development.

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