What is the Ofgem Confidence Code?
The Ofgem Confidence Code is a code of practice designed to govern independent energy comparison sites. The regulator accredits this energy code of practice to sites, who must then adhere to key principles when comparing suppliers and presenting the energy comparison results to the public.
What are the Ofgem code of practice key principles?
The Confidence Code key principles are designed to offer reassurance to users about the independence, accuracy, transparency and reliability of the comparison service they are using, for instance:
- No default partial view – Energy comparison sites must show all tariffs available in the market unless consumers actively choose to see a smaller number of tariffs.
- No confusing language - The wording surrounding any choice to see a partial view must make it clear to consumers the choice they are making.
- Ensuring transparency of commission arrangements - Sites must explain clearly that they earn commission on tariffs that consumers can switch to directly through the site. At UKPower, for instance, we earn our income from a small referral fee if you switch to a new energy supplier via our website. This is paid by the new supplier, it does not affect the price you pay, and our energy comparison service is provided to you for free.
The code is regularly reviewed to safeguard consumers and ensure comparison sites are acting in the best interests of energy shoppers. For instance, when the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recommended Ofgem remove the rules stipulating that accredited price comparison sites obliged a wide range of energy tariffs on the market, not just those that can be switched to through their website, the regulator only partially removed this requirement to assess its impact. This whole of market requirements was subsequently removed as part of a 2018 Confidence Code review.
Why compare energy with Confidence Code accredited site?
Price comparison sites covered by the Confidence Code Ofgem has implemented are not linked to any suppliers, which means you can be sure the results returned when you compare gas and electric rates have been calculated and are displayed in a fair and unbiased way.
Comparison sites bearing the Confidence Code logo: • help you find the best deal for you in your local area • provide a free and easy-to-use switching service • give detailed information on each tariff, including gas and electricity unit prices • detail any discounts available. uSwitch, our switching partner, is covered by the Ofgem Confidence Code, so you can be safe in the knowledge that the results returned are impartial.
How to complain about an Ofgem-accredited price comparison site
All Confidence Code accredited energy comparison sites must have an effective complaints procedure in place, which should be displayed on site – UKPower’s complaints procedure, for instance, can be found here. If you have a complaint, you first need to raise it with the comparison site in question, and give them the chance to resolve it. If the compliant is not resolved to your satisfaction, or in a timely manner, you should contact Ofgem on 020 7901 7295, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any other queries about the Ofgem Confidence Code, email Consumers.Directorate@ofgem.gov.uk.