TPI Code of Practice

The Energy Managers Association (EMA) has launched a Code of Practice for Non-domestic Third Party Intermediaries and Energy Brokers. Companies, who have signed up to the Code, will need to ensure they are transparent in the cost of their services for their clients. The EMA is a consumer based, not for profit, professional body that is dedicated to protecting its members and the wider energy management community.

Our aim is to help TPIs in the non-domestic electricity and gas procurement sector to ensure they act in a fair, honest, transparent, appropriate and professional manner. This will give consumers confidence that the TPIs are working in the consumer's best interest. The EMA Code requires compliant companies to appoint a compliance officer, be audited, have a complaints procedure in place and adhere to a set level of sales staff training.

Code of Practice for Non-domestic Third Party Intermediaries and Energy Brokers
Why has the EMA Launched a Code of Practice?

The Energy Managers Association believes that many customers have not been protected in an unregulated part of the energy sector. To protect these customers the EMA has launched the Code of Practice that will ensure that those who have signed up to the code act in a clear fair and transparent manner.

There are three clear reasons, reputational, financial and regulatory. Companies that join the code will be seen to be of good standing, customer will buy because they can trust the TPI and last but not least a mandated code is almost certainly not far off. Those not on the voluntary code based on Ofgem’s code, may find it difficult to transition to a mandated code.

The EMA members represent £6 billion of energy spend, the EMA members are customers and procurement officers, and the EMA can through the Register of the Code ensure the companies they are dealing with are compliant with the Code, and have been audited to show their compliance. We will be working with partner organisations to promote the Code across all industries, stressing that customers should only buy from companies listed on the Code.

The EMA Code of Practice is based on Ofgem’s draft code. The EMA will be pressing for a mandated code as soon as possible but any future code will likely be based on the Ofgem code with changes to reflect how a code based on it works in practice. We will work with companies on the code to make sure they are compliant. We have opened a complaints process about any TPI to assess the complaints being made and will use this evidence to press for a mandated code. The EMA will bid in any future competition to manage a mandated code.

The Code of Practice will only look at businesses that have contracts dated after the 1st March 2016.

The EMA is a consumer based, not for profit, professional body that is dedicated to protecting its members and the wider energy management community. Our aim is to help TPIs in the non-domestic electricity and gas procurement sector to ensure they act in a fair, honest, transparent, appropriate and professional manner. This will give consumers confidence that the TPIs are working in the consumer’s best interest.

The EMA Code requires compliant companies to appoint a compliance officer, be audited, have a complaints procedure in place and adhere to a set level of sales staff training.

A registered company will nominate a named individual who will be trained through the EMA one-day training course.

The compliance officer will also be responsible for:

  1. Sales staff training
  2. Complaints process
  3. Facilitating audit(s)

Companies applying to be on EMA Code of Practice Register will need to follow a standard complaints procedure which will include a complaints log that will need to be checked by the EMA on a regular basis. Complaints which are in breach of the Code will lead to either remedial action mandated by the EMA or an additional audit. Companies on the Register will be required to make customers aware of the complaints procedure and also provide information on how to contact the EMA directly about a complaint.

Tier 1 companies on the EMA Code of Practice Register will be audited at least once a year, Tier 2 companies twice in one year and Tier 3 companies, 3 times in one year. The audit will be undertaken by a senior energy manager and will be based on transparency of the contract with the customer. The audit will be based on the difference between the cost of the energy from the supplier and the cost charged to the consumer. There are no guides as to how much could be charged as long as the customer is made fully aware of the cost of the service or services. 

There will be two Registers.

  1. EMA Code of Practice Register – for companies who are compliant with the EMA Code of Practice
  2. Compliance Officer Register – Compliance officers will only be placed on the Register once they have been trained on the EMA course. Small companies will need to train the appropriate director as a compliance officer. The EMA reserves the right to specify the appropriate director of a TPI that has a very small number of employees to be the compliance officer.

If a company is found in breach of the Code it may be struck off the Register. When a company is removed from the Register, the compliance officer will automatically be removed from the compliance officer Register. Compliance officers who have been struck off the Register will not be allowed to reapply to join the Register. Any company that is recommended for removal from the Register has the right to appeal the decision to an independent body specified by the EMA.

There is an annual fee for being part of the Code. The EMA as a not for profit company, limited by guarantee, has an open book policy matching fees to the cost of operating the scheme. The fees are set against the turnover of companies that decide to join the Register. The Code is voluntary; all companies that sign up to the Code will be placed on the EMA Register.

Tier Fee
Tier 1 – Up to £1m turnover per annum £3,500
Tier 2 – £1m to £10m turnover per annum £10,000
Tier 3 – £10m+ turnover per annum £35,000

The EMA Code of Practice Register for Compliant Companies

The EMA Code of Practice was launched on 1st of March 2016. The list of companies will be on this registrar as soon as companies become compliant.

Complain about TPIs and Energy Brokers

The Energy Managers Association (EMA) represents all those involved in the energy management sector whose roles often include the buying of energy. Getting the most appropriate tariff is often not straightforward and the use of third party intermediaries is sometimes required.

The EMA members have often raised complaints against the way contracts have hidden charges and/or are more expensive than the customer was led to believe at the time of signing.

The EMA has launched a Code of Practice for Non-domestic Third Party Intermediaries and Energy Brokers (EMA Code) to ensure that there is transparency in energy purchasing.

To understand the types and scale of complaints by companies about TPIs and energy brokers, we are calling for evidence from customers. If you are unhappy with any contract please fill in the form so we can help to reduce abuses of the system in the future.

TPI Code of Practice

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