Shortly after the water market in England was deregulated, Ofwat took the opportunity to push ahead with their plans to implement a non-binding code for TPIs. This was the softer of the two approaches they discussed in their consultation document, published in March of 2017.
As it is non-binding, it is not a requirement for those looking to trade. That isn’t to say that the code is something that should be ignored. Ofwat is set to engage with the UK government to become the de facto enforcement authority within the fledgling new market. One benefit of signing up for TPIs is; that while it is voluntary, they plan to highlight which TPIs have signed up to such codes on a public register. The Principles can be seen below:
Principles for Voluntary Industry TPI Code of Conduct for Water
- TPIs shall be fair, transparent, and honest
- Communication with customers (business, charity, and public sector) shall be in plain and clear language
- All information provided to customers by a TPI shall be reliable, accurate, complete, timely and not misleading. Such information shall be made through appropriate channels and enable customers to make informed choices
- TPIs shall not offer products that are unnecessarily complex or confusing
- TPIs shall not sell a customer a product or service that is not fully understood by that customer, nor sell a product or service that is inappropriate for that customer’s needs and circumstances
- TPIs shall not exaggerate the savings that could be achieved by switching, but shall be as accurate as possible
- TPIS shall inform any micro-business customers that they have a 14 day cooling off period
- TPIs shall cancel any mis-sold contract without penalties
- TPIs shall respond to customers in an appropriate and timely manner
- Customer service arrangements and processes shall be accessible to and effective for customer
With the market is in its infancy, Water is a great opportunity for those working in the energy sector to expand their customer-base, and strengthen their existing portfolio, by offering added value to their dealings. By being transparent and keeping the customers informed TPIs could become a valued partner to their Customers’ Businesses.
The flip-side is, those who choose not to adhere to this Code of Practice could find themselves pushed out of the market by Brokers quick off the mark to sign up, and Suppliers who choose only to deal with TPIs registered with the code, regardless of whether those Brokers flout the principles.
If you’re interested in becoming a Water Broker then don’t hesitate to contact our Water Team – 01604 201217
By OnlineDIRECT Marketing Team