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Third Party Intermediaries

Third party intermediaries TPI services what your business needs to know;

– Can be operated as businesses across all areas of procurement for businesses.

– Business can operate as Third-Party Intermediaries TPI as long as they abide by the TPI Agreement set by Ofgem. Not be confused with businesses who do not abide by the Utility TPI Ofgem Agreement.

Customers should:
– Always ask if a Third-Party Intermediaries provider operates with the Ofgem TPI Agreement
– Only use the United Kingdom (U.K.) registered Utility TPI providers to be covered under U.K. law. Many business services operate outside U.K. law governance for legal purposes, so they are outside of liability.
– Only use Third-Party Intermediaries providers who are registered tax payers (to remove criminality and show transparency). Ask for there HMRC registered number, this will normally end the conversation if they are not
– Only use Third-Party Intermediaries providers who are PLC (Public Limited Company) and Ltd (Limited), this is for legal and financial purposes
– Ask if Third-Party Intermediaries abide by Ofgem should provide energy-related advice, aimed at helping business buy energy and manage energy needs
– Third-Party Intermediaries businesses function across utility switching websites, energy brokers, and any company that offers support with energy procurement.

– From May 2018, Ofgem made the decision that all Comparison Websites no longer need to show the Whole of Market (WoM), and which utility provides are paying comparison sites commission to put forward their prices, and rates as the best available. The document is here: https://tinyurl.com/ybcyqv9y

Energy4 disagrees with the action of Ofgem. Energy4 will continue since its inception in 2013, to provide independent, impartial, evidenced-based, Whole of Market (WoM) transparent, non-biased utility information from 40+ utility providers.

Whether your business is approached by a utility TPI directly or they contact your business, both your business and yourself should not feel under pressure to use their services. Your energy supply contract will always be with an energy supplier.
Third-Party Intermediaries do NOT supply energy, as this would make them biased to sell their energy versus a competitor utility provider who could offer better prices.
Third-Party Intermediaries can support you when getting a business energy quotation as the process is different from getting a quotation for your home.
• There are very few published prices in the business market and you need to contact suppliers to obtain a quotation.
• There is no obligation for any supplier to provide utilities – a supplier may determine which customers they choose to supply by factors such as the size of supply or your credit rating.
• There is generally no cooling-off period after you agree to the contract (even when this agreement is made over the telephone rather than in writing).
• The contracts may last for multiple years and may have an early termination fee if you wish to change supplier before then.
 

Important questions to ask a TPI before you consider using their services

• Which suppliers will you be approaching to get prices?
• How many price offers will you give me?
• What will you do to help me switch supplier?
• What services will you provide during the life of the contract?
• How will I be charged for these services?
– Will I be charged directly or indirectly (see over)?
 
 

Important

Q: Do Third-Party Intermediaries always research the whole market?
A: No. Some TPI research the whole market but others represent one or a small group of suppliers.
Q: Will a Third-Party Intermediaries always find the best energy deal for you?
A: No, TPI is not necessarily required to find the best deal for you. You could find a better deal if you are prepared to look at different contract lengths or payment methods.
Q: Is agreeing to a contract over the phone binding?
A: Yes, your verbal agreement is binding.
Q: Are you obliged to accept an offer from a Third-Party Intermediaries?
A: No, make sure you understand the services they will provide for you, how they will be paid for these services and all terms and conditions before you accept.
Q: Are all offers presented in the same way?
A: No. Some factors in energy bills may change during the life of the contract (e.g. environmental tariffs). These may be presented on a pass-through basis (where they will be added to the energy price when the charges are known by the suppliers). Check that you understand whether your price may vary within the term of the contract.
Q: Is there a set duration for contracts?
A: No. Many contracts are fixed term, and you should be clear how long you would be locked into the contract and whether there is a termination fee
 

Third-Party Intermediaries

What your business needs to know when paying for a Third-party intermediaries

A Third-Party Intermediaries will charge for the services it provides you.
Either a direct charge paid by you to them (e.g. a flat fee, a commission per trade made on your behalf) or indirectly payments.
The TPI receives a payment from the supplier, which is added to your bill. Below is an illustrative example using simple figures to aid understanding:
 

Basic cost of energy 10p/kWh > TPI commission 1p/ kWh > Your bill shows 11p/kWh (paid to supplier) > Supplier passes 1p/kWh to TPI e.g. consumption 50,000 kWh/ annum, TPI receives £500

 

Consumer Protection

Third-Party Intermediaries must comply with consumer protection laws, including those which relate to business customers. For example: TPI is prohibited by the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations (BPMMRs) from carrying out misleading advertising activities and should therefore always identify itself and be clear about the purpose of its call.
In November 2013, Ofgem acquired powers to apply to courts for an injunction to prevent breaches of the BPMMRs.
In instances where breaches of the BPMMRs may be criminal offences (which can be enforced by Trading Standards and The CMA), Ofgem may notify these enforcers of concerns, where appropriate. Ofgem does not license TPIs but
has set out voluntary principles showing how they should operate, below.
 
Energy4 follows the principles and professional behaviour standards of Ofgem and the TPI Programme. Honesty, Accuracy, Respect, Transparency, Customer-focused, and Professionalism

Ofgem

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/gas/retail-market/forums-seminars-and-working-groups/third-party-intermediaries-tpi-programme-working-group

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/gas/retail-market/market-review-and-reform/third-party-intermediaries-tpi-programme

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/meeting-third-party-intermediaries-tpi-operating-domestic-and-non-domestic-retail-energy-market

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilities_Intermediaries_Association

https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/risk/articles/third-party-intermediaries-managing-extended-enterprise.html

The following Third-Party Intermediaries service information that was originally created by Ofgem and the now gone TPI services.

Energy4 operates non-biased, transparent, whole-of-market quotes, with no commercial control by specific suppliers.

Third-Party Intermediaries: What your small business needs to know

Third-party intermediaries (TPIs) are organisations or individuals that give energy-related advice, aimed at helping you to buy energy and manage your energy needs.

– TPIs include switching sites, energy brokers and any company that offers support with energy procurement.

– Whether you approach a TPI directly or they contact you, you should not feel under pressure to use their services.

– Your energy supply contract will always be with an energy supplier: the TPI does not supply your energy.

– A TPI can support you when getting a business energy quotation as the process is different from getting a quotation for your home.
• There are very few published prices in the business market and you need to contact suppliers to obtain a quotation.
• There is no obligation to supply you – a supplier may determine which customers they choose to provide by factors such as the size of supply or your credit rating.

Important

Energy4 follows the principles and professional behaviour standards of Ofgem and the TPI Programme

Honesty
Identify yourself, the services being offered, and any organisations you represent (directly and indirectly) clearly at the start of any interaction with a customer and obtain their consent before any marketing.

Respect
Must at all times respect the consumer’s wishes and should cease the current contact and avoid future contact if the customer requests

Accuracy
You should make the customer aware of how much of the market you searched to obtain the offers you propose to them and ensure all requests are accurately presented.

Transparency
Before obtaining their agreement to the contract, you should make the customer aware of all principal terms of the energy contract, including the services you provide and how the customer will pay (directly or indirectly) for those services.

Customer-focused
Record and investigate all complaints fully and act quickly to put things right when you make a mistake

Professionalism
Should ensure staff are adequately trained for dealing with customers and adhere to these principles

The outcome of Ofgem Confidence Code and Price Comparison Websites

The outcome of Ofgem Confidence Code and Price Comparison Websites

Energy Price Comparison services of Energy4 help to identify the Whole-of-market (WoM) prices available for the business customer.

We are offering non-biased transparency to benefit the business customer, not the energy supplier. Energy4 provides advice and products to assist with a range of functions including energy procurement, efficiency and management.

Energy4 follows the original Ofgem Third Party Intermediaries (TPI) Programme of providing Whole-of-market information to the business customer, identified in the WoM Requirement, and the Confidence Code.

Contract Energy4 for further information

Publication of the Revised Ofgem Confidence Code 2017 [2] identified that Ofgem set out decision to partially implement the removal of the WoM Requirement, and to consult on consequential Confidence Code wording.
 
The result of this was that Ofgem no longer requires domestic and Non-Domestic Third Party Intermediaries (TPI) to provide Whole-of-Market prices to domestic and business customers. Please note that Ofgem Third Party Intermediaries (TPI) Programme, only originally covered covers Domestic customers. [1] The Non-Domestic TPI Working Group is no longer active. Made with representatives from TPIs, suppliers, consumer groups and other stakeholders. [1]

Therefore Price Comparison Websites and Businesses are no longer legally required by Ofgem to provide Whole-of-Market and follow any Confidence Code.
 
Energy4 objected to Ofgem changes as the outcome was:
– No legal addition made to have Price Comparison Websites and Businesses provide evidence to customers of the options made available
– No legal addition made to have Price Comparison Websites and Businesses identify biases towards specific suppliers due to commercial agreements.
– No legal addition to stopping the use of the Price Comparison and Ofgem Confidence Code logo on websites and businesses
– No legal addition made to have Price Comparison Websites and Businesses provide evidence that they are providing correct information and in order of best prices.
 
 
Since 2017 Energy4 has reviewed the energy market comparison sites.
By merely using mathematics and access to the tariffs, and prices provided, it is clear that many current Energy Price Comparison companies are not giving Comparison. They were showing a distorted list that appears to present a fictional order of suppliers based on money saved. When in fact they are not in order and are putting forward specific suppliers which are not the best price. Most likely put forward based on commercial decisions, not assisting the business customer.
 
Energy4 sees itself as one of the very few left real Energy Price Comparison website businesses that put business customers first.
Energy4 shows the Whole-of-market prices, and following the original Confidence Code, will continue the original Ofgem Third Party Intermediaries (TPI) Program. Energy4 will provide value and best prices to business customers.
 
 

[1] https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/gas/retail-market/forums-seminars-and-working-groups/third-party-intermediaries-tpi-programme-working-group

[2] https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/publication-revised-ofgem-confidence-code-2017

Further information

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/data-portal/average-tariff-prices-supplier-standard-variable-and-fixed-default-vs-cheapest-available-tariffs-gb

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feed-in_tariff

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/consumers/household-gas-and-electricity-guide/how-switch-energy-supplier-and-shop-better-deal/compare-gas-and-electricity-tariffs-ofgem-accredited-price-comparison-sites

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/decision-implementing-cma-s-recommendation-remove-whole-market-requirement

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/confidence-code-review-2016-consultation

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/international-energy-price-comparisons

 

Request Further Information Today

To discuss further, please contact Energy4

Opening Hours: 8:00 – 17:00 Mon to Sat
Telephone: Call us on 01642 888814 & 01642 888816
Email: contact@energy4.co.uk

Contract Form: Contact Energy4 today – click here

Location: 25 Hartley Meadow, Whitchurch, Hampshire, RG28 7BW

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Third Party Intermediaries
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