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TPI Update Jan 2013 from Duncan Sedgwick Code Manager

January 28 2013

TPI Code of Practice

Update January 2013


Dear TPI,

I hope you had a good Christmas with family and friends and that the New Year has started well.

As you know, back in April last year the TPI Code of Practice was launched as an Independent Code and I thought the time was now right to provide everyone with an update on what has happened since we became fully operational on 1 August 2012.

Since the launch we have provided guidance to a number of you to ensure there is a full understanding of the Code and how it operates in the competitive energy market. In addition we have also launched our website which is helping to promote the Code. If you have not had an opportunity to study this then click here to take a look and find out more about the Code and participating TPI’s. Please do not hesitate to let me have your views on what you see and any improvements you believe we could make to the content.

Changes and Actions

Since we went live in August a number of changes and specific actions have been put in place:

  • E.ON have appointed an internal audit function and have begun auditing TPI’s against the standards of the Code. I have worked closely with them to ensure there is sufficient robustness both before, during and after the audit process. This work will continue into the future
  • I have appointed a Code Panel made up of two independent professionals who work closely with me to ensure correct decisions are made. The individuals concerned have considerable experience in this area and will provide invaluable support going forward. For full details see the About Us section of the website

  • I have appointed KPMG as the external Code Auditor. KPMG have considerable experience with this type of work and indeed I have worked with them in the past. They are helping to develop an initial audit methodology to ensure the robustness of suppliers’ systems to monitor compliance. They will be carrying out audits during the next few months 

Since the Code was introduced we have carried out several investigations, one of which resulted in a TPIbeing removed from the Code for being in breach of the requirements. Although this is very sad it does demonstrate we will be tough and will not permit bad selling practices. In addition it does of course prove how beneficial the Code is for maintaining TPI standards. I strongly believe that “hot air” and complaining is not enough, we must ensure that good TPIs can prosper and those who not follow the rules are driven out of the market.

The impact of the TPI Code

· Non TPI members are now  approaching us to make sure they achieve our standards and are requesting to join the Code

· It is becoming clear to us what areas we should focus on in the future to ensure high customer standards

· The goal of ensuring we improve the overall customer experience must remain right at the front of our mind

· We need to ensure that we establish best practice which will be invaluable whatever the outcome of the Ofgem determination under their SME Retail Market Reform proposals

· Our work and experiences will provide valuable input into the TPI working group which will be established shortly by Ofgem

The future

The vision for our Code has always been to be a workable template for an industry wide Code and we have done a great deal to ensure this happens.  We have always supported a single Code so I’m happy about the assurance from Ofgem that this will be the case. The original thought of having multiple accredited Codes was always plain wrong. Unfortunately it is difficult to persuade other suppliers to join the Code at this stage as it seems they all wish to wait and see what the Ofgem deliberations will bring. This is obviously disappointing but there is little else we can do at this stage. 

We will continue to attempt to work with all other suppliers and TPIs and look forward to participating fully in the Ofgem working group so we can share our learning on establishing and monitoring a single industry Code of Practice that focuses on improving the customer experience.

As I mentioned earlier please do not hesitate to let me have your views on how things are progressing. I accept this is a learning experience for us all but the ultimate aim of improving the experience for the customer whilst ensuring a vibrant and competitive market for TPIs is well worth the effort.

Best wishes for 2013

Duncan Sedgwick