Proposed reforms to business energy market welcomed
Published: 29 October 2012 - Joe Bush
Energy procurement company, ENER-G, has welcomed Ofgem’s proposed reforms to the business energy market.
“Ofgem’s tough stance on rogue energy brokers is particularly welcome”, said Mark Alston, general manager of ENER-G Procurement. “We have argued strongly in favour of developing an industry wide code of practice and are keen to work with Ofgem to raise standards in our sector.
“There is an existing code of practice developed by the Utilities Intermediaries Association (UIA), which we adhere to, and we believe that this can form the basis of Ofgem’s proposed new code.
“We hope that Ofgem will acquire the powers to take enforcement action against rogue brokers who use high pressure sales tactics or mislead customers, and remove such bad practice from our market. We have resorted to supplying our customers with a Unique Broker Identification Number to combat sharp practice by a minority of rogue brokers, which helps verify that we are their legitimate representative.”
ENER-G also added its support to Ofgem’s proposals for tackling supplier abuse of the switching objections process. Alston explained, “Attempts by suppliers to thwart a customer’s desire to switch suppliers can sometimes lock them into uncompetitive contracts for illegitimate reasons - often leading to outrageous default tariff terms and frustrating efforts to access the competitive market.”
He added, “It is positive news that the energy regulator intends to extend rules for clearer contracts to a further 150,000 smaller businesses and to ensure bills and statements show clear contract end dates. However, we need clarity on how Ofgem will tackle the urgent ‘elephant in the room’ of ‘default’ or ‘out of contract terms’, where customers who fail to arrange a new supply contract before their renewal deadline can end up paying extortionate rates. This is a major problem that affects both big and small businesses and we call on Ofgem to urgently address this matter.”