MCS Scheme Redevelopment Consultation
SCHEME CONSULTATION HAS NOW CLOSED!
MCS has come a long way from its small beginnings in 2008. It is now 5 years since MCS was made independent of government, in line with the government’s strategy of “enabling the renewables market to be sustainable in the long-term”. Under new leadership, MCS has set out to pursue a Mission to “give people confidence in low-carbon energy technology by defining, maintaining and improving quality.”
To help meet our Mission, we’ve undertaken a rigorous review of MCS, the way the scheme operates and the delivery of consumer protections. The conclusion of this review has led to a proposed redevelopment of the scheme which we now invite your views on as we launch a consultation.
The proposals outlined in our consultation aims to reduce the complexity of the Certification Scheme that sits around MCS Standards, and to reset the Scheme’s consumer protections to give people the confidence that they need to engage with small-scale renewables. Certification should not be a barrier to industry entry, or a purely administrative burden to contractors. As demand for small-scale renewables grows we want to ensure the delivery of high quality, compliant installations with embedded safeguards for consumers.
Scheme Rules will form the primary reference for contractors to understand the requirements of gaining and maintaining their certification. This document, included in this consultation, describes the content of the Scheme, the core contractor requirements, and associated links to other scheme documents.
These rules will encompass the relationship the contractor will have with MCS and with their chosen Certification Body, how they should operate as a certified business, the responsibilities of the people working for the contractor either directly or indirectly, and the need to comply with the Customer Duty.
The Customer Duty sets out the rights and responsibilities of a customer receiving advice, quotations, designs, installations, products and services from their MCS contractor and, in turn, their subcontractors. It also describes the customer’s responsibilities to their chosen contractor. Compliance with the Customer Duty is a mandatory Scheme Rule.
We expect that the new Customer Duty will be shared by contractors with their customers at first contact, ahead of the design and installation of a customer’s system.
In early 2022, MCS instructed its research partner to conduct an extensive programme of research on the sector’s current approach to consumer protection. MCS also carried out an installer experience survey to gauge the contractor community’s approach to consumer protection.
The research found that current consumer protections fall short of what consumers expect to be in place.
Despite the reliable track record of small-scale renewable technologies, these systems are still unfamiliar to many people and investing in them may still be considered a financial risk. As such, the industry must adapt to deal with consumers’ concerns, especially those considering renewables for the first time.
The report outlining our findings provides the industry with:
– Insights on the need to “de-risk” the consumer journey
– An overview of the current confusing complaints management process
– What small-scale renewable energy contractors expect
– A plan for the future of consumer protection in small-scale renewables
Are you an environmental, business, or consumer affairs reporter looking more information about the proposed changes to MCS and our consultation?
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Please note, general questions about responding to the consultation should not be directed to this email address as they will not be answered. For general enquiries, please contact our helpdesk.