Financial News

  • 11 March 2014, 10:16

Energy Bills To Show Codes To Help Consumers

Homeowners are being offered a new way to potentially save money on their energy bills - QR (or quick response) codes.

The Department for Energy and Climate change wants all energy companies to add the codes to their bills to give customers an easier way of finding out how much they have spent on gas and electricity.

The codes are small box shapes with unique combinations of black and white dots, and are similar to barcodes, providing easy access to information through your smartphone.

In order to read them, customers will need to download a QR reader app on their phones.

This is the latest announcement from the Government to help consumers get a better deal, with collective switching and simpler tariffs already introduced.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey said: "We're determined to make energy markets work better for consumers - and 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.

"With so many of us using smart phones and tablets nowadays it would be strange if we weren't using the latest technology to help us save money at home."

The Government says studies have shown that the technology would be helpful for customers, but there has been no voluntary move by the energy sector to introduce QR codes, therefore it is taking action under the Energy Act to modify the energy company licences to have QR codes included as part of energy bills.

Energy UK, which represents the industry, told Sky News: "Energy companies are working hard to streamline tariffs, improve customer information and encourage choice so people have all they need to compare and switch.

"And it's working - around quarter of a million customers switch every month and nearly a million did last November and December alone."

Despite concerns from some campaign groups, ministers insist the QR codes will also benefit vulnerable consumers or those who do not use smartphones, because people with smartphones will be able to help friends and family less comfortable with technology.

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