Local shops have welcomed new proposals to protect business customers against unfair energy contracts.

The proposals, announced by Ofgem this morning, are due to be part of a consultation which looks to introduce the following measures:

  • Extend protections which currently cover microbusinesses to include businesses with up to 50 employees
  • Set out a series of measures to regulate energy brokers,
  • Stop energy companies objecting to businesses who want to change their contracts
  • Introduce new standards of conduct which will be enforceable by Ofgem

ACS Chief Executive James Lowman said: "Local Shops have waited a long time for Ofgem’s plans to extend protections to more businesses and they will welcome today’s announcement. These changes proposed cannot come into force quickly enough.

“However, our members and countless other small businesses are still at the mercy of energy companies when it comes to backbilling and this urgently needs to be addressed. Getting an unexpected bill of several thousand pounds puts the local shops and other small businesses that are at the heart of the economic recovery at risk of closure. Ofgem must intervene to stop these abuses of power and introduce a 12 month cap on back bills."

The consultation will be published later this week. ACS will be working with Ofgem closely over the coming months to ensure that local shop concerns are taken into account and have recently written to Energy Minister Chris Huhne calling for action on the issue of back billing.