Small businesses complain about ‘unfair’ energy market



A survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed that many small firms do not trust energy suppliers and find it difficult to switch provider.

The organisation asked 1,400 of its members about their relationship with their energy suppliers and found that the majority do not trust the ‘big six’ energy companies – Npower, E.ON, EDF, Scottish Power, British Gas and SSE.

Around 81% of respondents said they feel the providers do not care about their needs and would like to see published tariffs in order to ease switching and favour competition.

John Allan, chairman of the FSB, said, “It’s clear from our research that many small businesses don’t trust the big energy suppliers to deliver a smarter, fairer and more transparent billing process as four in five of our members say that energy companies don’t care about them.

“This week we will tell Ofgem and the Competition and Markets Authority that small businesses won’t get a fair deal until all energy companies publish easily comparable fixed prices, have much clearer terms and conditions and operate in a more competitive and fair market.”

The survey also revealed that two-thirds of small businesses find it difficult to switch energy supplier, because of unclear notice periods, complicated contract terms and the speed of the switching process.

Commenting on the report, Juliet Davenport, chief of renewable electricity supplier Good Energy, which has seen its customer base increase over the past few months, said, “We welcome the FSB findings and are working really hard to support small businesses. Switching to a small supplier is a step that small businesses should consider.

“We offer businesses flexible tariffs, don’t tie them into contracts and have never applied automatic rollovers.”

Photo: Serge Melki via flickr

Further reading:

Unhappy ‘big six’ customers flock to Good Energy, whose profits see sharp rise

‘Big six’ energy firms admit to failing customers

Smaller independent energy firms a ‘cheaper alternative’ to big six

Energy customers switching suppliers at three-year high, says trade body

Regulator supports calls to speed up energy supplier switching process


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