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Business energy regulators
Who are the regulators for the business energy market?
There are two regulators for the business energy market:
- Consumer Focus
What do Consumer Focus and Ofgem do?
Consumer Focus is a ‘consumer champion’ organisation and one of its key concerns is helping energy customers get a good deal; this includes small business customers as well as domestic ones.
Consumer Focus works specifically with micro-businesses, which any business that meets one of the following criteria:
- consumes less than 200,000 kWh of gas a year;
- consumes less than 55,000 kWh of electricity a year;
- has fewer than ten employees (or their full-time equivalent) and an annual turnover or annual balance sheet total of €2m or less.
Consumer Focus is involved in policy and research and plays a role in shaping the direction the business energy market will take.
Consumer Direct acts as a contact point to provide businesses with advice or information about energy, suppliers and brokers. However, Consumer Focus can investigate complaints about energy suppliers, brokers and third parties when they of general interest in terms of regulation.
Ofgem is the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets and its aim is to protect customers, promote competition and regulate the companies which run the gas and electricity networks.
Like Consumer Focus, Ofgem only works with micro-businesses.
Ofgem provides some information for business energy customers on its website, but its job is to regulate and monitor the industry and come up with new rules and policy to protect customers.
What rules are in place to protect businesses?
In January 2010, Ofgem implemented a set of new rules and guidelines to protect businesses. These only apply to microbusinesses. Here are some of the key ones:
- Within 10 days of your new energy contract being agreed or an existing contract being extended, you should receive a written copy of the terms and conditions.
- Approximately 60 days before the end of a fixed term period, energy suppliers must send you a statement of renewal terms.
- When you get these renewal terms, you have 30 days to switch or negotiate a new deal.
- If you do nothing within the 30 day notification period, you van be rolled over to a new contract, and this can last a maximum of 12 months.
- If you don’t want to have your contract automatically rolled over, you can stop this from happening by writing to your supplier at any point and requesting to ‘opt out’ of rollover.
Can the Energy Ombudsman help businesses?
The Energy Ombudsman can help micro-businesses with complaints if your energy supplier does not resolve your complaint to your satisfaction with eight weeks or sooner if your supplier says that it can’t do anything else to help you.
Getting a better deal on business energy?
Consumer Focus and Ofgem don’t offer price comparison services. That’s where we come in. Call our business energy team on 0800 688 8568 or complete our online form to arrange a call back. We can find you a better deal in one phone call – and when you switch, we’ll handle all the paperwork too.
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