By Anna Jordan on Small Business UK – Advice and Ideas for UK Small Businesses and SMEs
British businesses are accusing gas and electricity companies of profiteering and discrimination, reports The Telegraph.
Iceland and Burger King are two of the companies to make complaints to Ofgem, the energy regulator. Charging eye-wateringly high fees to secure a contract and unfairly holding on to security deposits worth hundreds of pounds are among the grievances being aired by these businesses.
Iceland said “Suppliers are attempting to remove every element of risk from their business by directly passing it on to their customers. The customers then have no option but to pass these costs where they can or absorb them. The first option fuels the cost of living crisis and the second could see many businesses fail.
“Having chased this [recouping their security deposit] with the supplier every day for the past two months, there is still no confirmation of when this money will be returned,” the supermarket chain said.
Burger King said it only found two energy firms able to provide its gas supply.
More serious claims around discrimination were made by smaller organisations. Energy brokerage, Utility Aid, reported that some of their clients had been cut off from suppliers due to being non-profits.
Business Energy Direct said: “Many suppliers continue to refuse to offer contracts to certain sectors. Unduly onerous prices are evidence across the entire industry and customers continue to be charged at much higher prices than any supplier can justify.”
Ofgem is doing an investigation into wrongdoing by energy firms, taking these comments into consideration.
A spokesperson from the energy regulator said: “These initial views were in response to an early stage of our biggest deep-dive into the non-domestic energy market.
“Since then we’ve received more up-to-date responses to proposals we published in July, with positive feedback from consumer groups. We are carefully considering all the responses we have received.”
Earlier this year, energy brokers were accused of being paid ‘secret commissions’ by energy companies.
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