The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called for better regulation to provide small businesses with clarity and support with their energy contracts.
Responding to Ofgem’s review of the non-domestic gas and electricity market, ACS has highlighted the need for stronger regulations on energy suppliers, to provide businesses with clear and transparent information on: billing, payment options, data transparency, contract terms, and termination.
In the submission, ACS has called for an extension definition of microbusinesses to include a wider group of small businesses, such as convenience stores, to allow these businesses access to greater support and guidance when navigating the energy market and negotiating their contracts.
“This is yet another review where Ofgem are tinkering at the edges of the issues that businesses, including local shops, are facing in regards to their energy contracts,” James Lowman, ACS chief executive, commented.
“We have made repeated calls over the years for Ofgem to provide small businesses with greater regulatory support and we know that retailers are still having difficulties in navigating the energy market as they contend with a lack of information which then makes it impossible to compare and switch contracts.”
In the submission ACS has also called for new regulatory support for businesses burdened with excessive energy bills, particularly those who signed a fixed contract during peak wholesale energy costs, by allowing them to blend and extend their contract to reflect the current wholesale price.
ACS estimates that there are a total of 6,900 independently owned convenience stores that are currently stuck in excessive fixed contracts that are putting their businesses, as well as the jobs of over 46,000 colleagues, at risk.