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ACS slams ‘bullying’ power companies

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has accused energy companies of “bullying” small businesses.

In a response to the Ofgem Retail Market Review, the ACS called for businesses to be afforded the same rights as domestic customers.

ACS chief executive James Lowman believes that business customers are being treated unfairly by their suppliers.

“Energy companies are abusing their relationship with small businesses in a way that would never be allowed for the general public,” he said. “These double standards need to stop, and the measures we are proposing would give business customers the same basic rights as domestic customers.”

In its submission the ACS urged Ofgem to limit the length of time that energy companies can backdate bills to 12 months, stop automatic rollover contracts, introduce a more effective procedure for handling complaints and prevent excessive use of the objections procedure.

Currently energy companies can automatically rollover business contracts, with customers unable to negotiate or easily change supplier.

“For too long, energy companies have had a free reign over businesses and have been able to tie them up into unreasonable contracts,” added Lowman. “We must see a complete overhaul of the way energy companies do business with their non-domestic customers and a more effective procedure for handling complaints.”