Third-party intermediaries in the retail energy market: Call for Evidence

Closes 6 Dec 2021

Opened 16 Aug 2021

Overview

We want to understand more about how third-party intermediaries (TPIs) currently operate in the retail energy market. In the Energy White Paper, the government committed to consult on regulating TPIs with a view to ensuring the regulatory framework adequately covers the wider market. This call for evidence is the start of that process.

TPIs include a wide range of businesses models operating in the retail energy market that provide customers with products and services linked to energy supply, such as advice on energy procurement and switching. TPIs typically sit between the regulated entities in the energy market and customers, helping them to engage with the market. TPIs provide services to both domestic and business customers, including microbusinesses.   

Examples of TPIs commonly used by energy customers include price comparison websites, brokers, auto-switchers and auto-recommendation services. New types of TPIs will continue to emerge and develop in the future, such as TPIs that remotely control customers' energy usage as we decarbonise heat and transport. While TPIs provide valuable services to customers, they largely operate outside the scope of the current retail energy market regulatory framework.  We want to be confident that customers are adequately protected when using their services.

We are therefore asking for evidence of customer harm (and/or risk of harm) from TPIs activities, as well as where TPIs may also present risks to the energy system. The call for evidence sets out common themes where we are seeking views which are:

  • information transparency
  • contracting and sales arrangements
  • customer service arrangements and wider customer protections
  • out-of-court dispute resolution, and
  • energy system risks.

The call for evidence also sets out information on the existing regulatory arrangements for TPIs (including initiatives such as voluntary codes of practice) and seeks views to inform the design of any future regulatory intervention if required.

We welcome responses from a wide range of stakeholders with an interest in this area.

Read the consultation document on GOV.UK.

Give us your views

Audiences

  • Trade bodies

Interests

  • Electricity