Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Forum warns lack of dedicated watchdog could undermine energy reforms

Proposals to better protect small businesses from energy companies could be undermined because of the lack of a dedicated watchdog, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) is warning.

Following its research showing that 94% of small businesses surveyed have seen energy bills rise over the past year — the biggest cost increases they have experienced - the Forum is welcoming Ofgem’s proposals to reform the energy market.

However, the watchdog Consumer Focus is being disbanded in 2013 and some of its powers will be passed to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB). It follows the demise of its predecessor Energywatch in 2008 and the removal its dedicated small business complaints hotline. The Forum is concerned that, unless new Ofgem powers prove adequate, the CAB could prove even less effective at policing any reforms.

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