Have you checked out the QR code on your energy bill yet?
Posted by Helena Ripley on 15 July 2015 at 2:35 pm
What is a QR code?
A Quick Response (QR) code is a type barcode that can be scanned using a QR code reader application (app) on a smart phone. To make use of the QR code on your energy bill you will need a smart phone or access to one. You will also need to download a QR code reader app. Some price comparison sites will offer apps which will read your code and present the information in a clear way.
Which bills will have a QR code?
Starting from the 30 June 2015 companies with over 50,000 customers, that’s all of the big six, are required to include QR codes on their bills. Unless you are with a smaller energy provider, or have more than one property associated with your account, you are likely to see a QR code on your next bill.
What information will be provided and how is it used?
The QR code will give you details of your:
- Plan or tariff name (such as variable or fixed)
- Tariff rates
- Consumption (how much gas and/or electricity you use)
- Annual bill period dates
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) hopes that price comparison sites will use these QR codes to make comparing energy providers easier. By producing an app to read the code and present the information in an easy to understand way, price comparison sites will enable consumers to make quick, informed decisions about their provider. With a normal QR reader app you will have information about your current bill but to see how this compares with other providers you will need to seek out comparisons.
My code’s not working!
There are expected to be a few teething problems with the first set of QR codes but these should be sorted out before too long. So don’t give up on the codes if your first one doesn’t work.
Here are some common problems you may experience. You scanned the wrong code – there will be two, similar looking, codes on the bill (it’s not yet known what the other one is for!!); the QR code you will need is the larger one, more than 2cm x 2cm. The code might not be correctly formatted. If part of the information cannot be interpreted by the app none of the information will be shown.
Who will these help?
While the government hopes that these codes will allow everyone to better understand the differences in energy providers and be able to switch to a cheaper tariff, some people are not convinced. Those who would make use of the technology are people who probably already use price comparison sites.
Vulnerable people who really need help with their energy bill are much less likely to be able to use the QR codes. However DECC believes the addition of QR codes in energy bills will benefit the vulnerable and those who do not have smart phones. It hopes that “people with smartphones will be able to help friends and family less comfortable with technology”.
Photo credit: uSwitch
Need help with any Jargon?
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