Issued By
North Yorkshire County Council


TRADING STANDARDS officers in North Yorkshire have welcomed the warning from the Energy Minister, Brian Wilson, urging gas and electricity suppliers to abide by a special charter which came into effect this month, giving consumers new rights.  

The new voluntary code aims to make it easier for customers who switch supplies in error to return to their original contract.   This follows a number of complaints concerning electricity and gas suppliers following on from the deregulation of the power industry.  

While there have been some benefits from the increased competition it has also brought the downside of an increased number of complaints referred to the power industry watchdog, Energy Watch and also local trading standards departments up and down the country.  

In North Yorkshire there have been many examples of fraudulent sales agents, including:

§         The bullying of elderly residents in their own homes being forced to sign application forms for switching supply

§         Forging a customer’s signature

§         Customers being switched to a new company when they have not given their consent to do so

§         Salesmen tricking their way into peoples’ homes on the false pretence that they are there to check meter readings.

Stuart Pudney, head of trading standards and regulatory services, said: “We have received numerous complaints concerning unethical sales practices in this sector and we welcome this new Code of Practice and any attempt to give consumers new rights when faced with such a history of unsatisfactory trading practices.   We would still like to hear of any complaints concerning the miss-selling of energy supplies."