Is going to court the best way to get change for the better?
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 July 2012 at 11:58 am
The people that enforce regulation are never popular and, as a result of all the government subsidy that goes into it, the renewable energy sector probably has more scrutiny and enforcement than most. But what makes a good regulator?
I ask this question as a solar installer has recently filed a claim against the REAL Assurance Scheme for 'acting beyond its powers and unfairly interfering with legitimate companies'. Crystal Windows and Doors claims that 'by meddling in the affairs of companies, REAL is not acting fairly, reasonably or impartially'. REAL has responded here.
I find this a remarkably difficult question to address. On the one hand, I totally agree with Encraft's Matthew Rhodes, when he suggests we should trust individuals and take a more imaginative approach to consumer protection. Then I receive cold calls from companies that tell downright lies, and I speak to people who get three or four calls a day from companies selling solar PV or insulation, who imply that they are ringing on behalf of the government: and I think all cold calling and doorstep selling should be banned and the regulator should come down on these companies like the proverbial ton of bricks.
However, I'm pretty sure that good reform (if it's needed) isn't going to come from taking REAL to court, but from more from constructive engagement between industry, consumers and regulators.
In comments elsewhere I've read quite a lot of general slagging off of REAL, and not much in the way of good suggestions about ways it could improve what it does. So I'd like to invite you - whether consumer or installer - to add your thoughts below about how regulation could be improved to everyone's benefit.
If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.
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