Energy Secretary Ed Davey has this week pushed energy providers to start including QR codes on all bills, with the intention of allowing commercial energy and domestic customers a more interactive bill that will allow them to see where they’re spending money on their energy.
Secretary Davey has out lined the plans to enforce QR codes on bills as part of the government’s progressive approach to tackling rising prices in a marketplace with little trust in it’s major players, with Davey hoping to provide consumers of all levels with a “quick, straightforward way to compare the best deal for them with a simple swipe of their phone”.
The plans follow The Department of Energy and Climate Change forcing the big six in the marketplace to streamline their range of tariffs which previously were as varied and numerous as they were complex.
The QR Code plan from the government is the latest to give customers more insight into where their money is being spent as a way to help tackle higher energy prices.
“We’re determined to make energy markets work better for consumers – and despite all the evidence showing that QR codes on bills would make a real difference to people, energy companies still haven’t done anything about it,” Davey said.
“With so many of us using smart phones and tablets nowadays it would be strange if we weren’t using the latest technology to help us save money at home.”
Recent marketing reviews suggest that the use of QR Codes in promotional materials is far from on the up. With Apple and Android yet to ship a device that comes pre-installed with a QR code radar, fears are that the rollout – which the government hopes will be later this year – will be met with indifference from your average energy customers.
With the main victims of energy price hikes being elderly or disadvantaged, implementing a potential solution that is only accessible to smartphones will likely draw criticism from opposition party members.
One potential means of getting energy users to use the codes would be to provide a comparison service, something Davey says has been mentioned but is up to the energy companies to implement. The potential ‘carrot’ of being told whether there is a cheaper tariff available would certainly go a long way to justifying the implementation of QR codes as part of a bill.
The consultation between the Department of Energy and Climate Change and energy companies will continue until the end of April this year.