New Small Business Energy Rules 'Confusing'
on: January 19, 2010, 7:53 am
Ofgem's new rules for the small business
energy market come into play tomorrow - Monday 18th January, 2010.
While designed to give greater protection to Britain's SMEs, according
to uSwitchforbusiness.com, the dedicated SME price comparison and
switching service, the rules are in danger of confusing business owners
and put too much onus on them to take action.
Jake Ridge, small business expert at uSwitchforbusiness.com, says:"Ofgem is
doing the right thing in offering Britain's SMEs greater protection in the energy
market. However, these new rules have fallen far short of the simple blanket ban on
evergreen or rollover contracts that was initially proposed and, as a result, are in
danger of confusing busy SME owners.
"Small businesses need to understand the rules quickly to ensure that they benefit
from the additional protection being offered. The key thing is that the rules only
apply if you are a micro-business so check whether you qualify and let your energy
company know straight away if you do. This means that when you come to renew your
contract your supplier must provide you with clear written details of the full terms
and conditions plus ensure you get suitable notice so that you can shop around for a
new deal. Check with your supplier if you are unsure when your current contract will
"You also now have the right to opt out of being rolled-over - as soon as you sign
a new energy deal let the supplier know you are opting out and this means that you
can only be put onto a 28 day notice rollover plan at the end of your contract
leaving you free to move to a better deal.
"The rules are complicated and unfortunately put too much onus on SME owners. But
it's a step in the right direction and should hopefully see more small businesses
avoid the expensive trap of 'evergreen' energy contracts."
The new rules only apply to micro-businesses, which Ofgem defines as a company that
meets any one of the following criteria:
•Consumes less than 200,000 kWh of gas per annum
•Consumes less than 55,000 kWh of electricity a year
•Has less than ten employees (or the full-time equivalent) and an annual turnover or
annual balance sheet total of Euro 2 million or less.
uSwitchforBusiness.com's guide to cutting business energy bills
•Make a note of your renewal date on your current contract and make sure you start
searching for a new deal before it comes up
•Have recent electricity and gas bills to hand so that you can supply accurate usage
details along with the reference numbers of your meters (MPRN for gas and MPAN for
•Go online to arrange a call back or call your broker direct to discuss your needs
•Once you have your quotes, decide whether to switch or not
•If you switch, you will need to give termination notice to your current business
energy supplier and agree to your new contract - all other paperwork is dealt with
•The whole process takes between 4 - 6 weeks - your new supplier will advise you of
the switching date
•There will be no interruption of supply while the switch is being processed.
the full version of this press release
For more information please contact:
Jo Ganly 0207 802 2915 / firstname.lastname@example.org
uSwitch.com is a free, impartial online and telephone-based comparison and switching
service, helping consumers compare prices on gas, electricity, water, heating cover,
home telephone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones, personal finance
products and car insurance. http://www.uswitchforbusiness.com/