Business energy price probe call
Published:  07 September, 2010

FIFE: Sharp practices by energy companies should be investigated said M&C Energy Group. It represents some of the UK energy users and highlighted issues of debt blocking, automatic rolling contracts and stifling contract terms.

David Hunter, M&C's energy analyst said many businesses are paying "well over the odds' for their energy simply because their current energy provider is making it difficult for them to switch.

"Without doubt almost all of the 'big six' are involved in questionable practices with regard to business users," he said. "While steps have been made to simplify switching consumer contracts, little has been achieved to offer the same benefits to businesses - other than the very smallest users. The hoops organisations have to jump through to change suppliers are a huge disincentive even with the promise of big savings."

M&C has seen an increase in suppliers 'debt blocking' clients thus preventing that business switching to another supplier.

Rolling contracts is also an issue, particularly with SMEs. The supplier has an obligation to inform the customer when their contract is about to expire. Often this letter either doesn't arrive or it is not presented in a way that the client registers its contents and that businesses is then unwittingly tied into an extra two years on dictated terms without the opportunity to renegotiate on price.

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