On the 21st July 2015, The Home Insulation & Energy Systems Quality Assured Contractor’s Scheme (HIES) was officially recognised by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) as the UK’s latest official Code of Practice for the renewable energy sector.
Consumer Codes are a form of industry self-regulation that aim to improve consumer protection and customer service by promoting approved codes of practice, setting out principles of effective customer service and recognising approved traders.
Whilst a number of sectors have public bodies to regulate them (such as the Financial Conduct Authority) other sectors have been left to self-regulate through the use of schemes such as HIES. It is widely believed that self-regulation can be effective in driving up standards in sectors where consumers are at risk of being disadvantaged.
The aim of a CTSI Consumer Code is to help consumers choose traders that meet agreed standards of customer service and consumer protection.
Tony Pickup, founder of the Scheme commented on the news:
“It’s taken nearly two years to go through the whole approval process but we are incredibly pleased to be able to offer a new enhanced service to our members and further our commitment to offer the very best consumer protection in the market”
In addition to meeting minimum standards, traders who are accredited by a code sponsor, are able to join the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), which requires all installers to be a member of an approved code before allowing their customers access to Government Incentives, such as the Feed-in-Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive.
Justin Molloy, HIES Consumer Code Manager commented:
“The whole ethos of the HIES consumer code is to treat both consumers and traders fairly while making sure the consumer is never disadvantaged. To that end, HIES offers a comprehensive dispute resolution service that qualifies under the upcoming alternate dispute resolution (ADR) requirements that will be implemented in October”
HIES have always pushed for greater consumer protection within the industry and since it’s launch in 2012 has become a popular choice for informed consumers keen to take up the protection and peace of mind the scheme has to offer. In 2014 a significant number of installations registered with MCS were through accredited HIES member.