Small businesses and energy market regulations

Article posted

17th Jul 2023

Read time

3-5 min read


Mollie Pinnington

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Convivence stores around the UK have urged better energy market regulations to protect their business’ future.

The UK's energy market has been increasingly unpredictable over the past few years, with an unprecedented peak in the energy crisis experienced in 2022. This period of instability had a devastating effect on smaller businesses across the country, with many having to close their doors despite their desperate attempts to keep afloat. According to research by Citizens Advice, up to 800 convenience stores in rural areas have been forced to close due to the increased volatility of energy prices.

One business group, The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has spoken out about the treatment businesses within their group should be getting. They have said businesses need transparent and clear information on billing, payment options, data transparency and contract terms and termination.

The ACS has argued that the definition of a micro business in the energy market should be extended to encompass more small businesses. Currently, a micro business is defined as a business with fewer than 10 employees or an annual turnover of less than £2 million. However, many of the convenience stores that come under the ACS’ purview do not meet these criteria, which means they are not protected by the same regulations as micro-businesses.

The ACS is also calling for an introduction of a minimum energy purchasing period that allows businesses to negotiate more favourable rates with suppliers and enable them to plan their future energy needs.

In addition, The Consumer Council has raised concerns about the lack of price transparency in the energy market. They say that customers are not given enough information on their bills to make informed decisions when they switch suppliers or enter into a new supply contract.

It is clear from these calls for better regulation in the energy market that small businesses need more protection and transparency within the industry if they are to survive and thrive in the future. It is up to the government and industry to work together in order to provide the necessary protection and transparency for all businesses. Only then will small businesses be able to continue their operations without fear of being left behind in an increasingly volatile energy market.

If Ofgem could implement these changes it would provide more businesses with better access to support and ensure that smaller businesses are getting fair treatment in the energy market.

Businesses are still having to make cuts in other areas of their business to accommodate for energy prices and renewals. It is still difficult for many smaller convenience stores to cut costs and continue trading with vital access to services. This is becoming increasingly difficult because of rising costs. 

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