Want a cheaper energy deal? Can’t be bothered with the rigmarole of finding your energy bills, plugging details into a price comparison site and choosing the best deal? Could QR codes on energy bills be the answer?
Yes, the Department of Energy & Climate Change’s (DECC) new idea for getting us to switch supplier is the QR code.
Now, I’m not the most tech savvy person in Which? HQ, but even I know what a QR code is. You know, they’re those matrix barcodes that you can scan with your smartphone, which then zap you direct to the relevant website – apparently taking out the effort of searching for it on Google.
And given that switching levels in the energy market have been incredibly low – despite the fact that people can save money by shopping around – it seems like a smart idea. Not only does it take out the hassle of finding your last year’s energy bills, but it should also ensure that people don’t input incorrect information into a price comparison website and end up choosing the wrong deal for them.
More radical measures needed
Of course, DECC shouldn’t see it as the silver bullet to get us switching. For starters, there’s the question of how popular QR codes are. I’m probably not the best test case, but I’ve never used them.
Instead, QR codes (and other interventions like it) should just be seen as part of the arsenal to make the energy market more competitive. Our new Fix the Big Six campaign is pressing for much more radical measures to shake up the market, including simplifying energy prices and speeding up switching.
Both of these ideas are likely to have much wider reaching impacts on the energy market – showing fed up customers the benefit of changing supplier, and making energy companies work much harder for our business.
The Government and Ofgem have so far failed to introduce these changes. And that’s why we think enough is enough – it’s time for a full inquiry into the energy market to deliver a real dose of competition. Until then, where’s my smartphone?