ENERGY suppliers should be made to write to business customers as well as householders every year telling them about their best available business energy deal, according to the Energy Advice Line.
Julian Morgan, managing director of the UK’s leading price comparison and switching service for business, said the move would save firms hundreds of pounds a year in business electricity and gas costs.
Last week Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that the Big Six energy companies would be obliged to inform households about the most suitable tariff for them, and to offer this deal if requested.
Mr Morgan said UK businesses, especially small and medium-sized firms, should be included in the new arrangements as thousands of organisations could be offered a much better deal if, for example, they are currently paying out of contract prices.
The requirement to write to businesses in this way would help address the long running problem of firms being offered the most competitive deal for their business energy.
“The Government’s announcement is welcome news for householders, many of whom are on the wrong tariff and paying too much,” Mr Morgan said. “But once again, businesses are being ignored when it comes being better protected from the Big Six.
“We have been calling on energy companies to write to businesses when their fixed-term contracts end, and to offer them their best deal first.
“At the moment we have a situation where suppliers are doing the opposite – they send businesses a renewal quote which is up to 50% more expensive than the deal they were on, in the hope that they will not shop around and just accept the offer.”
The Energy Advice Line has called on suppliers to offer clearer and more detailed information on bills in order to stop confusion and help businesses find the best available deals on the market.
It has called on contract-end dates to be printed on bills, and for suppliers to clearly explain to customers how to terminate their contracts so they can switch more easily.
It wants suppliers to introduce standardized notice periods and adopt a “best offer first” approach when providing renewal quotes to firms at the end of their contracts.
The calls are also in line with Ofgem’s commitment to review contract rollover regulations as part of a sweeping review of the non-domestic energy sector.
Mr Morgan said there was widespread confusion among businesses about how and when they needed to formally terminate their energy contracts; many did not even realize they needed to do this in order to change supplier.
The government expects the requirement for suppliers to write to customers with details of their best deals to come into effect in the autumn.
The Energy Advice Line is a consumer champion and the UK’s only independent price comparison and switching services exclusively for small and medium-sized businesses. The service enables firms to quickly and simply compare business electricity rates and business gas prices, and to switch to the best available deal on the market.
The Energy Advice Line has produced The Business Energy Best Practice and Advice Guide to help firms combat unfair pricing tactics employed by utility companies.
To obtain a copy of the guide, for further information or a free quotation, visit www.energyadviceline.org.uk