Renewable Energy Assurance Scheme asked to remove ‘unlawful code’

The Renewable Energy Assurance Scheme (REAL) is being pressured to withdraw its code of conduct, following claims that code alterations were not approved by the Office for Fair Trading (OFT) and is subsequently 'unlawful'.

Prospect Law claims that REAL changed crucial parts of its code of conduct without prior approval from the OFT. The law firm added that the OFT’s decision to retrospectively approve REAL’s code was also unlawful.

An OFT spokesperson told edie: ‘The OFT is aware of the concerns raised about changes to the REAL Code of Practice and is looking into them. [However], the OFT has no plans to withdraw approval for REAL’s Consumer Code of Practice.’

On July 3, REAL was issued with a High Court Claim for acting beyond its powers and unfairly towards its members, and for unlawfully altering its code without the OFT’s approval.

A spokesperson from Prospect Law said: “On 18th June, REAL altered the code under which it operates in a number of fundamental respects. These alterations included the removal of the requirement to act “quickly and fairly” in relation to complaints against member firms.

“We have alerted the OFT to the serious concern the current situation is starting to cause amongst members of REAL and indeed consumers who are asking us: how can we have faith in REAL’s conduct or authority when the altered code under which it operates has itself been unlawfully introduced?”

The spokesperson added: “Prospect Law has asked REAL to withdraw the altered code with immediate effect. REAL has refused this request and we have now asked the OFT to step in and force REAL to withdraw the unlawfully altered code with immediate effect.”

REAL told edie that it refutes the accusations and will contest the claims through court.

Leigh Stringer

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