ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has responded to the Energy Secretary’s announcement today, calling on the Government to include local shops in plans to give customers fairer tariffs.

In an energy select committee meeting, Ed Davey announced plans to reduce the number of tariffs that energy companies can give their customers to four for both gas and electricity. The plans would require suppliers to switch their customers to the lowest available tariff unless they objected. However, these rules will not apply to business customers.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Tariffs for small businesses are just as confusing as those given to consumers, if not more so. Many local shops are not big companies – they are small family businesses working 50-60 hour weeks and they simply do not have time to go through pages and pages of paperwork to work out which tariff is best for them.”

ACS said that in the past year more than one in three local shops have been overcharged by their energy supplier and 31% have reported above-inflation rises in their energy tariff.

Lowman added: “Even the smallest businesses receive fewer protections than consumers on issues like contract terms and backdated bills. If the Government is really committed to giving everyone a fairer deal on energy, they should introduce these plans across the board.”

Ofgem is currently consulting separately on other measures to improve the non-domestic energy market which ACS will be responding to in December.