FT - James Lowman, chairman, ACS

ACS chief executive James Lowman

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called for tougher regulation of energy suppliers to provide businesses with clarity on their billing, payment options, data transparency, contract terms, and termination.

The call came in its response to a consultation from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, on its proposed policy for the energy market.

ACS also called for greater support for vulnerable businesses burdened with excessive energy bills, particularly those which signed a fixed contract at the peak of wholesale energy costs, by allowing them to blend and extend their contract to reflect current wholesale price.

ACS estimates that there are a total of 6,900 independently owned convenience stores that are currently stuck in excessive fixed contracts that are putting their businesses, as well as the jobs of over 46,000 colleagues, at risk.

In the submission, ACS has also called for the Government to provide additional for businesses to enable them to invest in cleaner energy which will help businesses to cut energy costs and empower businesses to be part of the net zero transition.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Convenience retailers are doing everything they can to try and cut costs so that they can continue trading and providing their communities with access to vital services, but this is becoming increasingly difficult as a result of rising costs and the pressure is mounting.

“The Government needs to commit to taking action to provide these vulnerable businesses with greater support so that they can keep their doors open now and into the future.”