Ombudsman Services has been working with Ofgem in order to put in place an Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme for energy brokers to join.
Welcome to Ombudsman Services. This page explains how we’ll support energy brokers and their microbusiness customers through our independent dispute resolution service.
Ofgem have been looking to improve the experiences of microbusiness customers, including better and fairer deals. As part of their work over the last 18 months, they ran the ‘Microbusiness Strategic Review’ which included a call for evidence and a statutory consultation. As a result, they’ve decided that energy suppliers will only be able to work with brokers that are signed up to a qualifying dispute resolution scheme
We’ve been providing independent dispute resolution services across the energy, communication and parking sectors since 2002. We’re a purpose-led, not for profit organisation with people at the heart of what we do. Our mission is to build trust by ensuring that businesses treat customers fairly.
We’ve been working alongside Ofgem during the review process to build the scheme. To gain a better understanding of the types of disputes that commonly occur between brokers and microbusinesses, and the challenges of operating in the space, we ran a small pilot. We also engaged with energy suppliers and other stakeholders to more fully understand the relationships, services and contracts currently being sold to microbusinesses.
We resolve disputes between energy suppliers/brokers and their customers. Our independent, impartial service takes into account both the rules and regulations and what is fair and reasonable.
We’re dedicated to helping suppliers and brokers to improve their service, processes and customer experience in order to build trust and confidence. We do this through sharing insight and by working more broadly to inform policy and address industry-wide issues for the benefit of all.
We appreciate that needing to sign up to our dispute resolution scheme introduces some changes for brokers and that these won’t happen overnight.
We’ve set up a dedicated team to answer any questions and provide support around registering for our service. You can contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve agreed a four phase timeline with Ofgem as follows:
It’s important that energy brokers still wishing to join the scheme, complete their applications as soon as possible to avoid any possible delays.
Brokers can find links at the bottom of this page to access the ‘Broker Scheme Terms of Reference’ and more detailed information on our dispute resolution services.
We held a virtual session on the 24th November 2022 to provide an overview of the dispute journey and what will happen when we receive a dispute about a broker. We also gave an update on the member register and answered questions regarding the scheme.
A recording of this session will be available to view soon.
The dates are:
We know that there’ll be lots of questions and we’d encourage brokers to ask them. If it’s relevant for one, it may be relevant to others. Questions can be asked live at the sessions, or in advance by email. We’re going create a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide off the back of this activity which will be continually updated as part of our helpful pool of resources.
What experience do you have? We’ve been providing independent dispute resolution services across the energy, communication and parking sectors since 2002.
How much will it cost? Because Ombudsman Services is a not-for-profit organisation, we set subscription and case fees to cover the expected costs of providing the service As we establish the brokers scheme, we’ll review our costings to ensure that fees are fair.
Based on our current understanding of what’s required, the first year’s fees are:
Do all energy brokers and third party intermediaries (TPI’s) have to join? Ofgem have decided that energy suppliers will only be able to work with brokers (also known as ‘third party intermediaries’) that are members of a qualifying alternative dispute resolution scheme.
Will it work? We’re continuing to work alongside Ofgem as the process progresses to ensure that the scheme launch is as smooth and efficient as possible, and that it’s able to accommodate the Government’s longer term plans for the regulation of energy brokers.
Why should brokers join? Being registered to our scheme will enable brokers to continue selling energy contracts to suppliers’ microbusiness customers. We’ll provide an impartial dispute resolution service and use our insight to help brokers to improve their service, processes and customer experience. We’ll also continue to work more broadly to inform policy and address industry-wide issues for the benefit of all.