Chris Huhne talks tough with suppliers, on the domestic front, but what about the business users?

TOUGH new rules to force the ‘big six’ energy companies to simplify their tariffs and bills should apply to business energy users as well as domestic customers, according to the Energy Advice Line.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the energy price comparison and switching service for business, said firms were struggling with spiralling business electricity and business gas bills and needed the same protection as householders.

Energy Minister Chris Huhne used the Liberal Democrats conference this week to warn utility companies they could be forced to change their billing practices or face penalties, possibly by beefing up the powers of the energy watchdog, Ofgem.

Mr Huhne said he wanted to help energy consumers save money by making it easier to spot cheaper deals and switch providers. All six of the major energy providers have now announced significant price hikes, which will see bills skyrocket over the winter.

“The announcement by Chris Huhne to get tough with the big six is welcome, but any new protections must also apply to business energy users,” Mr Morgan said.

“Businesses are struggling out there and the increases in business electricity and business gas tariffs that have been announced are making it very difficult.

“Business energy bills can be extremely complex. Impartial switching services like the Energy Advice Line can help firms decipher their business energy bills so they can compare tariffs on a like-for-like basis. But reforms in this area would be extremely welcome.”

Mr Huhne did not provide details on how he would force energy companies to make their tariffs simpler, but said consumers needed bills that would tell them whether they could “buy more cheaply on another tariff”.

However, he denied reports that he had described consumers as too lazy to shop around for lower prices.

As well as promising to take action against British Gas, Scottish Power, Scottish and Southern, Npower, E.on and EDF, Mr Huhne said he wanted to encourage new, small firms to enter the energy market.

He also said he wanted to see ‘consumer-friendly’ organisations such as co-ops, partnerships and consumer charities dedicated to doing the shopping around for consumers.

The Energy Advice Line is a consumer champion that offers an independent price comparison and switching service tailored exclusively to businesses. The service is impartial and not linked to a single supplier. Businesses are offered a selection of quotes from a panel of business electricity and gas suppliers, as well as comprehensive advice on bills, contracts and switching.

For further information about the Energy Advice Line, and to receive a free quote, visit www.energyadviceline.org.uk

Contact Details

Name: Julian Morgan
Company Name: Energy Advice Line
Telephone Number: 01202636594
Email: julian.morgan@energyadviceline.org.uk

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