Sometimes it seems as though consumers are at the mercy of energy companies – especially the bigger ones. But despite the stranglehold the Big Six has on the market, every energy company is subject to the same regulations. So even if they seem powerful and intimidating, they’re still liable for a serious telling off if they break the rules.
Energy companies are answerable to three main bodies:
ELEXON is responsible for making sure the wholesale energy market is well-balanced, and their role involves comparing how much energy generators say they’ll produce and how much suppliers said they will consume (by providing the energy to their customers), and how much is actually generated and supplied. Any energy that is created by generators in anticipation of demand by suppliers can’t be stored, so if it’s not used it’s wasted. ELEXON identifies any imbalances and charges suppliers accordingly.
Ofgem is the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, a non-ministerial government department and National Regulatory Authority which is recognised by EU Directives. Ofgem’s main aim is to protect the interests of energy consumers, which it does by:
Ofgem’s main role is to make energy companies work better for their customers, and to make sure suppliers uphold the requirements of their licenses. It doesn’t have a direct role dealing with individual consumers, but instead collects information from a range of sources, to make sure everyone’s playing ball.
Ofgem is in turn regulated by the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (GEMA), which oversees Ofgem’s work and provides it with help and guidance in accordance with current energy law set down by government.
Previously Consumer Focus, and before that Energywatch – and soon to become part of the Citizens Advice Service – Consumer Futures is a watchdog for the gas and electricity industry, providing free and impartial advice on energy supplier issues and dealing with consumer complaints that cannot be solved by complaining directly to their supplier. Back in 2005, the organisation (then Energywatch) made a ‘super complaint’ to Ofgem about suppliers’ billing practices which resulted in tighter rules across the board for energy companies.
In addition to the many standards and regulations that energy companies must adhere to involving the way they manage their operations and the technical side of things (you can find those here), there are several consumer-facing codes and rules they must abide by, too.
From the end of March 2014, regulations will be in place to provide consumers with clearer information about their bills.
Other important regulations include:
This code sets out what customers can expect from their supplier regarding their bills. There’s more here, but one of the most important clauses of the code states that customers are not liable to pay for energy used, but not billed for by the company (known as ‘back-billing’).
This is a code of practice for the face-to-face marketing of energy services. Not all suppliers are signed up to it, but those that are must ensure that customers are given trustworthy advice and are not pressured into signing contracts. Any sales agent in breach of the code (more on it here) will no longer be allowed to work for the company.
For information on how to get independent advice about energy, see here.
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OVO Energy Ltd, registered office 1 Rivergate Temple Quay Bristol, BS1 6ED, company no. 06890795 registered in England and Wales, VAT No. 100119879
Additional terms and conditions
Please see below for full terms and conditions on 33% renewable electricity, 3% interest rewards, exit fees and saving claims.
1Monthly cost - Representative monthly direct debit costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying in advance by direct debit, including online discount. All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.
2Weekly cost - Representative weekly costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas). All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.
3Pay Monthly Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYM OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.
4Pay As You Go Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYG OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.
We include almost twice as much renewable electricity as the national average: At least 33% of electricity in all of our tariffs comes from renewable sources. The national average, according to Ofgem as at March 2014 was 16.7%. For more information please visit this page.
33% of your electricity comes from renewable sources: 33% renewable electricity as standard as of 1st April 2015. Renewable electricity is generated from wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogas.
3% interest: Calculated at 3% per year, paid monthly based on number of days in credit and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill. OVO Interest Reward is capped at 12 times the amount of the current direct debit amount and is available to customers paying by advance direct debit. Terms apply: http://www.ovoenergy.com/terms/
95% of new customers save when switching to OVO: Based on all new customer signups between 01/02/2016 and 31/07/2016
94% of surveyed customers would recommend us: OVO conducted a survey of their customers in between 1st January 2016 and 15th April 2016. Out of 15,312 customers who responded, over 94% rated OVO 6+ when asked 'how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend and family, on a scale of 1 to 10.
Britain's top rated energy provider: Britain's top rated energy provider in the Which? 2015 satisfaction survey. Survey conducted in October 2015. Awarded in January 2016.