Energy trade group to stamp out malpractice

2 February 2006
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02 February 2006 | Anusha Bradley

Energy consultants have united to establish a code of practice.

The code aims to regulate the conduct of consultants, which has been criticised for a lack of transparency.

The Utilities Intermediaries Association (UIA), led by energy consultant Rodney Sinden and industry expert Peter Thompson, held its inaugural meeting in London last month attended by 25 members.

In December, Energywatch warned purchasers to make sure consultants - who advise on buying energy or buy it on behalf of firms - give independent advice and declare commission received from suppliers. Backed by CIPS and Ofgem, it called for the code of conduct to ensure consultants promote the best deals for clients.

Consultants have taken the advice and, in a letter calling the meeting, Thompson said they should be both "the originator and custodian" of any code.

He added: "We are committed to creating the UIA which will ensure third-party intermediaries take control of the situation before events overtake them."

A statement to create a register of consultants who meet the UIA's requirements and agree to a code of practice "got the thumbs up", a spokeswoman told SM.

"There are cowboys out there - as there are in any industry - and there is a need for something that weeds out malpractice," she added.

Energywatch and Ofgem approved the move but said the code must meet guidelines outlined by Energywatch. This includes informing clients about any commission or payment received from suppliers.

An SM poll asking if buyers are in favour of a code of conduct has so far found 86 per cent support the idea. Vote now at www.supplymanagement.com

The next UIA meeting is on 15 March. To attend, e-mail uia@tapiola.demon.co.uk

SMfeb2006

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