Ofgem removes requirement for PCWs to show ‘wide range’ of energy tariffs

All accredited price comparison websites (PCWs) now have the option of exclusively showing deals they receive a commission from

By Priyanka Shrestha

Ofgem has published new rules for its voluntary accreditation scheme for energy price comparison websites (PCWs)

The Confidence Code is a voluntary code of practice for domestic energy PCWs to help consumers feel confident about the advice they receive when using an accredited site to switch suppliers.

The regulator had consulted on removing rules from the Code that oblige accredited PCWs to show a wide range of energy tariffs on the market, not just those that can be switched to through their website.

These rules are collectively called the Whole of Market (WoM) requirement – and was recommended to be removed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Ofgem has confirmed the removal of the WoM, which means all accredited PCWs now have the option of exclusively showing deals that consumers can switch to directly through their website – i.e. those that they receive a commission from – provided they display a link to the Citizens Advice Comparison Tool.

In addition, all testing obligations placed on accredited PCWs have been removed.

The regulator said: “Allowing accredited PCWs to omit a Wide Results page can increase incentives for suppliers to work with accredited PCWs as well as incentives for PCWs to invest in their energy offering.

“Requiring PCWs who do not display a Wide Results page to display a prominent, clear and intelligible link to the Citizens Advice Comparison Tool can help to ensure that all consumers who want to see a wider range of tariffs across the market are able to. In addition, by removing testing obligations from the Code, accredited PCWs can divert more resources to advertising and innovating their service so more consumers use it to switch.”

To ensure consumer protections are maintained in the absence of testing obligations, Ofgem added it will continue to monitor messages on accredited PCWs and raise any instances of PCWs being unclear or misleading as a breach, which could lead to the removal of the accreditation.

It will review the impact of the Code change once it has been in place for at least a year.