Smart meter consumer guidelines mooted

The government has released a smart meter progress report, including proposed consumer protection guidelines.

It is proposed that:

“The Government has concluded that suppliers should be required to comply with high-level objectives, and a Code of Practice, regarding the installation visit,” said the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

“In particular, the Government will set out in suppliers’ licences that there can be no sales concluded during the installation visit and that the consumer must agree in advance to any face-to-face marketing activity.”

“Furthermore, suppliers must provide consumers with help in understanding how to use the IHD (in-home energy display) and save energy, and they must also meet the needs of vulnerable consumers.”

“The Government welcomes the work being done by suppliers to develop a common code covering domestic and micro-business installations and their plans to introduce this on a voluntary basis ahead of the regulations coming into force.”

It is consulting about privacy and data access.

“The Government is proposing that, with the exception of monthly data required for billing and regulatory purposes, consumers should have a choice over the level of consumption data that suppliers can access. Suppliers can collect daily data for any purpose other than marketing, unless the consumer objects. For half-hourly data, or data to be used for marketing, consumers will have to explicitly opt in. Suppliers will, of course, need to comply with the Data Protection Act in the way that they use data.”

The consultation proposes a framework for network companies to access relevant information and seeks views on what arrangements should apply in the non-domestic sector.

The framework seeks to ensure that consumers can access their own data and provide access to third parties.

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