Towards the end of November 2 new schemes were launched to help promote competent electricians to the public. The idea of a central database of competent electricians which could be promoted direct to the public in a similar way to GasSafe for plumbing and heating is definitely a good one. However we now have two schemes competing for the public’s attention “The Electrical Safety Register” and “The Electric Safe Register”.
Both schemes operate in almost exactly the same way. Consumers can visit the website and search for a registered electrician in their local area. They are both intended to provide a central point for consumers to verify the quality of the electrician and also give the electrical industry a simple clear place to promote itself.
So what is the difference between the two schemes?
The Electrical Safety Register has been launched by the NICEIC, ECA, ELECSA and Electrical Safety Council. These scheme providers’ members will be automatically added to the database and as such this means that roughly 90% of approved electricians and domestic installers will be automatically registered for the The Electrical Safety Resgister. However the scheme is not open to sparkies who are registered with other scheme providers such as NAPIT.
The ElectricSafe Register was launched at almost exactly the same time by NAPIT. The Scheme is open to any electrician or domestic installer registered to any scheme provider and NAPIT registered installers will automatically be registered.
Which is best for consumers?
Both websites are fairly similar and pretty much do the same thing. Even the way the search results are displayed is very similar. In terms of look and general functionality we think that The Electrical Safety Register has the edge and looks a bit smarter and has clearer search results ordered by distance. However the scheme with the most installers on it will be best for consumers. At present if I search for installers near to our centre here in Crawley on The Electrical Safety Register I get 170 within a 5 mile radius. If I do the same search on the ElectricSafe Register I get 30.
So at present it really comes down to numbers. As such round one goes to The Electrical Safety Register.
Which is most heavily promoted to consumers?
At present neither seems to be that heavily promoted apart from within the trade itself. There have been various press releases mainly in trade press, plus most contractors have been issued with stickers for their vans. However I haven’t seen or heard any ads directed at the consumer at all. This will be the clear difference between the two registers as whichever register grabs the interest and establishes itself as a nationally recognised brand will eventually become the central point where all contractors want to be registered.
Whoever achieves this goal first will become a vehicle for lead generation and will add value to their membership. So rather than a fight it seems we actually have a race on our hands. However there are numerous other companies out there who provided services for generating leads for tradesmen. The two registers aren’t just competing against each other they are also competing against other companies such as Checkatrade.com who vet tradespeople and also allow online reviews. It is possible that without the right backing and promotion neither scheme will ultimately fulfil their goal of centralising the promotion of registered electricians. We hope that isn’t the case as we really believe a voluntary register for all sparkies is a very good idea and will help weed out those working in the industry without the appropriate qualifications and experience.
We wait await the outcome of round two!