Calls to name and shame ‘disgraceful' rogue energy suppliers

16 January 2023 by
Calls to name and shame ‘disgraceful' rogue energy suppliers

UKHospitality has urged the energy watchdog to call out rogue suppliers who have been using government support schemes as a "cash cow".

The trade body's chief executive Kate Nicholls said the behaviour of some energy firms over the last four months had been "disgraceful" and called on Ofgem to "name and shame" the worst offenders.

She said suppliers had been offering rates well above wholesale prices, hiking standing charges, demanding "eye-watering" deposits and in some cases refusing to work with hospitality.

"Day after day, we get more reports from businesses with another example of how an energy supplier is demanding outrageous sums of money to secure a contract on sky-high terms or, even worse, won't even engage on a contract simply because a business works in hospitality," said Nicholls.

Ofgem has been investigating the non-domestic energy market since last year but is yet to publish the outcome of its inquiry.

Nicholls said this should be published "as soon as possible" so examples of bad practice could be penalised, and businesses could renegotiate or cancel their contracts.

Suppliers with customers on fixed contracts at over double the government's ‘price cap' should be forced to offer a renegotiation of the contracts, she added.

Nicholls said the government should also act to stop energy firms refusing to supply whole sectors such as hospitality.

"If businesses don't have a route to renegotiate, thousands will be stuck on extortionate fixed tariffs that they were heavily encouraged to agree to," said Nicholls.

"With a positive resolution, we can see our sector bounce-back quickly and return to the economic growth, job creation and investment it is known for.

"If energy suppliers are allowed to continue to conduct themselves in such an unfair manner, without fear of reprisal, businesses will fail across the sector and across the country as a result."

The amount of energy bill support businesses receive from the government is to be cut from an £18b package to a £5.5b initiative from April this year.

Ofgem said earlier this month that it was aware of the issues businesses were facing and that it was working with the government to determine if "further action or assistance is needed".

Image: UfaBizPhoto / Shutterstock

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