Sales banned during smart meter installationGovernment announces measures to protect consumers
05 April 2012
Which? welcomes the government's decision to ban all energy sales during smart meter installations - a key ask of our smart meter campaign.
The government today announced a set of rules for energy companies installing smart meters, including provision that prevents companies from selling to customers during the installation.
Companies will also have to get permission from their customers if they want to do any marketing during their visit.
Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: 'Which? has been calling on the energy industry not to use the £11 billion smart meter roll-out as an opportunity to go for the hard sell, so we're pleased that the government has listened to consumers and banned selling during the installation visit.'
No selling, just installing
Which? launched the 'No selling, just installing' campaign in the summer of 2011, when it became clear that energy mis-selling – far too common during doorstep sales - could become an even bigger problem for consumers during the smart roll-out.
Some energy companies were planning to use smart meter installation as a way to get customers to invite salespeople into their home. In June 2011, Which? found adverts for smart meter installers offering commission if they could sell products to homeowners.
After so many problems with mis-selling in the energy industry, Which? wants to make sure that customers are not put in a vulnerable position.
Good news for consumers
There was more good news for energy customers too, as the government announced that energy companies who have begun to roll-out smart meters early would not be exempt from the compliance rules that will come into force soon.
Customers have also been offered more protection on their data, being given the choice to opt in to any use of non-essential data by their energy company.
Stop and review smart meters
Despite the good news on the sales ban, there is still more the government can do to protect consumers during the smart roll-out.
Currently the cost of putting a smart meter in every home is over £11bn. However, at the moment, there is no effective way for the government to manage the costs, as the roll-out is being led by suppliers.
After conducting a review of the roll-out, and its impact on consumers, Which? has called for a pause in the roll-out. We'd like the government to take control and make sure that costs don't spiral as they will eventually be passed on to consumers through their energy bills.
- See the companies who originally agreed not to sell during smart meter installations
- Find out why we want a pause in the smart meter roll-out
- Head to Which? Conversation to join the smart meter debate