Monday 10 March 2014 1:18 am

Barcodes to make energy switching easier

CONSUMERS could soon scan a barcode on their energy bills to hunt for better offers, after the government launched a consultation today on whether to print quick response (QR) codes on paper bills. The idea is that customers can scan the square barcodes – currently used at bus stops to find timetables and to verify tickets for events – to instantly compare tariffs at different energy companies. Consumer groups and smaller suppliers have called for energy switching to be simplified and for the time it takes to be reduced. It takes up to five weeks to switch. “Energy companies are working hard to streamline tariffs, improve customer information and encourage choice so people have all they need to compare and switch,” said industry body Energy UK, in response to the consultation. “Energy suppliers have been working closely with the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Ofgem to put more control in the hands of our customers and new rules, coming in by April, will help customers find their best deal by providing more information to help compare deals.” As part of the government’s retail market review, by 31 March three new comparison tools will be introduced into the market to help customers compare deals.