- Feb. 23, 2014
-- Like the rest of us, businesses need affordable services to stay afloat – every business needs electricity and gas to operate. However, small businesses have fewer protections than households in the energy market, making it difficult to navigate finding the cheapest deal or the best contract. Shock bills can sink a struggling business, as can being rolled into a more expensive contract, but many small business don't have time to navigate the complexities of the business energy industry. A better understanding of the energy market and better protections could make a huge difference to the bottom line for these businesses, and potentially save many.
Consumer watch groups in the UK advise that an improved energy market for small businesses should comprise:
• An end to mis-selling:
Mis-selling and the problems it causes for small businesses needs to be addressed. There should be a mandatory code of practice for third party intermediaries (TPIs), run by Ofgem. Small businesses should be protected against mis-representation and mis-selling for Green Deal, smart meters, and associated data and energy efficiency services. There should also be an end to roll-over contracts.
• A one-year limit on back billing.
• Evergreen contracts for small businesses: An evergreen rolling contract with variable prices could give greater choice and peace of mind to very small businesses, sparing them from having to re-contract.
• Published prices: All suppliers ought to commit to publishing their micro business tariffs in an easily comparable form, in order to put micro businesses in a stronger position when comparing deals and switching suppliers.
• Improved customer information:
Businesses must be provided improved information about their contracts, rollover dates, usage and consumption – as well as Annual Usage Statements being sent to small business customers to help them understand their contract and consumption information, so they can figure out how to save more money.
• Easy access to advice: There should be a one-stop location business owners can go to, to be advised on energy issues such as the effective use of smart meters, the Green Deal, energy supply, and energy efficiency.http://www.mybusinessutilities.com