All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group chair Priti Patel MP has called on the government to take action to promote fair energy contracts for local shops.

She advised Ministers that taking action in this area would send out “a tremendously positive message” about government being on the side of small businesses.  

In the pre-recess debate in Parliament yesterday, the Witham MP said: “The Association of Convenience Stores is running a campaign for fair energy contracts for local shops, to help small businesses to get a better deal from their energy companies.

“The campaign could bring about change, and it would send out a tremendously positive message if the government were to take action to help small firms to keep their energy bills down and, importantly, to be treated much more fairly by some of the energy companies.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We are delighted that Priti Patel has put our concerns and our campaign before the House and we will be pressing for a response from Ministers. It is essential that MPs continue to call on Ofgem to take action on energy contracts for local shops and stop the abusive practices that are commonplace in the non-domestic market.”  

ACS’ Switch to a Fairer Market campaign has been calling for the government to extend protections available to domestic customers on backbilling and rollover contract to small businesses. The campaign has cross party support from 17 MPs and retailer polling has highlighted that 36% of those polled have been overcharged by their supplier over the last year; 27%, or more than one in four have been hit with backdated bills, requiring them to pay out thousands or risk disconnection; and 31% have reported above inflation rises in their energy tariff.