The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed proposals to end rollover contracts in the energy market and ensure that small businesses are provided with competitive quotes for their gas and electricity.
It was responding to the Competition and Market Authority’s consultation on its energy market investigation.
The investigation, which began in June 2014, was tasked with looking at any competition issue connected with gas and electricity supply in Great Britain for households and microbusinesses. The initial results of the investigation were published in March this year, with a consultation currently under way looking at the following specific areas for microbusinesses:
• An Ofgem-controlled database which will allow rival suppliers to contact domestic and microbusiness customers who have been stuck on their supplier’s default tariff for 3 years or more with better deals. This will be subject to strict safeguards so that customers can opt out at any time and to ensure that communication meets strictly controlled criteria.
• Helping microbusinesses through improved price transparency, tackling ‘rollover’ contracts with greater notice periods and ending termination fees which prevent switching as well as moves to prompt and engage.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Energy costs for convenience stores are a significant burden on many retailers, with standards of conduct being insufficient for a number of years.
“We have long campaigned for stronger regulations to protect small businesses against bad practice from energy companies, specifically on the issue of automatic rollovers which can cause serious unnecessary financial harm to a business.
“We welcome the CMA’s continuing focus on making the energy market fairer, and will continue working with Ofgem to ensure that energy companies are not taking advantage of small businesses.”