Ofgem proposals: your voice counts

According to our research, 94% of the businesses that have switched their energy providers would like to see the contract end dates displayed on business utility bills.

Almost every business that has switched its energy supplier would like to see more information clearly presented on their bills, according to research from 'Make It Cheaper'.

An overwhelming 94% of the 500 companies surveyed said that industry regulator, Ofgem, should enforce a reminder of the 'contract end date' on every bill. A similar number of businesses think their contract renewal letters should be sent by Recorded Delivery and contain more information about the process required to escape an automatic renewal. Figures (below) from Make It Cheaper show that automatically renewed - or rollover - contracts cost businesses around a third more than those signing up to a new supplier. Despite this, the majority of businesses are still caught out by the rollover trap because they fail to act during the 'renewal window' which might only open for 30 days and close long before the contract end date is reached.

This has prompted Make It Cheaper to launch a campaign, encouraging businesses to write to Ofgem calling for reform, and which coincides with the regulator canvassing opinion - specifically from business energy customers - on proposals for its Retail Market Review.*

Jonathan Elliott, managing director of Make It Cheaper, commented:

"Any business that's been caught out by a rollover contract will know how frustrating and expensive it is to be locked-in for a year unwillingly. If, like just about everybody we've asked, you'd like to see some anti-rollover measures put into practice then now's the time to act. Ofgem is asking for input from business energy customers and so we've put together an email on our website that anyone with a vested interest can just copy, paste and send."

Make It Cheaper's suggested email response to Ofgem's consultation (which closes on 15th February) can be found at www.makeitcheaper.com/ofgem.

 Av Rollover RatesAv Switching RatesDifference
Business Electricity: 14.25p/kWh 10.15p/kWh -28.8%
Business Gas: 4.5p/kWh 2.9p/kWh -35.5%
Source: Make It Cheaper, January 2012

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* Note to editor: Page 42 of Ofgem's consultation reads: "Ofgem would like to hear the views of interested parties in relation to any of the issues set out in this document. In particular, we would like to hear from business customers…"

About Make It Cheaper:

Established in 2007, Make It Cheaper is the number one destination for businesses to get a better deal on their utilities and other services. Based in Central London with 110 staff, the self-styled 'saving experts for business' receive more enquiries and arrange more new contracts than any other business price comparison service. These include the business customers of major domestic price comparison services with whom Make It Cheaper has partnerships, as well as many trade associations and charity membership organisations. Acting on behalf of all these customers with total impartiality and free-of-charge, Make It Cheaper offers year-on-year savings across a range of products including: business energy, telecoms, insurance and merchant services (chip & pin). By switching suppliers or helping to renegotiate deals with existing ones, it will typically save over 30% of costs - as well as a considerable amount of time that its customers can then spend on running their businesses. Make It Cheaper is currently ranked 39th in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100.

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