The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed evidence from Citizens Advice on small business energy contracts, and has renewed its call on Ofgem to ensure that all energy companies adhere to the same standards.
The survey from Citizens Advice reports that 46% of small businesses are concerned about their electricity bills, compared with 16% who were worried about access to finance.
ACS research conducted last year revealed that 88% of retailers believe that further regulation of suppliers is necessary for a fairer marketplace.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The Citizens Advice survey highlights the continuing problems that small businesses have with their energy companies. In addition to price hikes, many small businesses still have to deal with excessive backdated bills, contracts that are automatically rolled over onto extortionate rates and nuisance calls from brokers misrepresenting both themselves and their charges.
“Many energy companies have already limited their backbills to one year, outlawed rollover contracts and only work with brokers who are providing an honest service, but there are still companies in the market that are taking advantage of their customers. Ofgem must take action to clamp down on the activity of these companies and ensure that the same standards apply for all.”
Ofgem is currently consulting on plans to regulate the activity of companies who use automatic rollover contracts. In their consultation, they do not rule out the possibility of an outright ban. ACS will be submitting a full response in due course.