Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Ofgem told to ‘step up’ to protect SMEs

watchdog Consumer Focus has called on energy regulator Ofgem to take steps to better protect small businesses in the energy market.
It follows a new report by the watchdog that found many of the UK’s smallest businesses are losing out on the best energy deals because of the way that some brokers operate when negotiating contracts with energy suppliers. The report highlights concerns that some brokers mispresent offers from suppliers, and that they offer poor quality advice. Not all brokers are upfront about their fees, while in many cases brokers fail to declare how they are being paid – for example, through commission from suppliers, or fail to make it clear that they do not have to search the whole market for the best deal.

Brokers can be valuable in helping guide firms through the huge range of complex tariffs and ensuring they get a better deal. However, not all brokers are genuinely independent or honest in their behaviour.

Financial Mail has long highlighted the ongoing issues facing small firms in the energy market and called for better protection for small firms against such ‘rogue’ brokers. Currently brokers are not regulated, which means there is little protection or recourse for small businesses who are caught out by rogue brokers.

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