Ofgem Moving at Glacial Pace, but Urgent Action Needed to Save Businesses

Ofgem’s lack of urgency in enforcing a fair and sustainable energy market for business customers is putting hundreds of thousands of businesses in villages, towns and cities across the UK at risk of failure due to the unacceptable conduct of energy suppliers, the trade association which represents pubs and brewers has cautioned.

Following news that Ofgem has introduced measures to protect some domestic customers from the forced installation of pre-payment meters, the trade association has noted that the regulator is not moving fast enough to introduce measures to save millions of businesses from failure in the coming months.

The call follows a string of similar alerts in recent days by business groups representing every industry from corner stores to hairdressers, with the Association insisting that Ofgem must step in and instruct suppliers to offer renegotiations of contracts for businesses.

With just weeks to go until energy bills come in at the increased rate since Government support fell away on 1 April, the BBPA is insisting Ofgem act now or risk businesses in key sectors in every part of the UK closing in the coming weeks and months.

A call for evidence was launched by Ofgem earlier this year requesting feedback from non-domestic energy users to identify potential failures in the market, any statutory changes are not due to be implemented until winter of this year.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association:
“The alarm has been raised for months and in the next few weeks we will see just how severe the damage to pubs and brewers and thousands of other valued high street businesses is due to this energy crisis.

“Ofgem’s failure to adequately regulate energy suppliers who are profiteering at the expense of small businesses and domestic customers alike is astonishing. Swathes of community-minded, cherished businesses will be wiped out and high streets decimated if nothing is done.

“The fact they’ve stepped in to protect domestic customers shows it can act on misconduct but is doing very little to respond quickly to the hundreds of examples provided by our industry and others of unfair charges and unacceptable behaviour by energy suppliers to business customers.

“At the very least, renegotiation of contracts must be offered to those businesses who were forced to sign up to extortionate tariffs and are now completely unable to afford the costs following the reduction in energy support from Government.”