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May 23, 2014 - Rachel Miller

Energy market is unfair for small firms, says FSB

Energy market is unfair for small firms, says FSBMost SMEs think that energy firms don't care about their needs, and are calling for published tariffs and an easier system for switching contracts. These are the findings of a new survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

In the first study of its kind since the big six energy suppliers pledged more support for small businesses by ending rollover contracts, the new FSB survey of more than  1,400 of its members has found that there is some way to go before energy suppliers regain the trust of small business customers.

The research finds that small firms want the energy market to be fairer and more transparent and the FSB is calling on energy companies to publish easily comparable prices for small business customers, commit to not reintroducing rollover contracts and ensure customers who want to switch can do so easily.

The FSB findings include:

  • 81% of FSB members said energy suppliers don't care about their needs;
  • 81% of firms agree that published tariffs would have a positive impact on their business, with the main benefits being more competitive pricing and easier switching of accounts;
  • 65% of small businesses think it is difficult to switch energy supplier, with the biggest problems being unclear notice periods, complicated contract terms and the speed of the switching process;
  • 27% of SMEs say there is enough competition in the energy market.

The FSB is presenting its research in its response to the Ofgem consultation on whether the energy market should be referred to the Competitions and Market Authority.

John Allan, FSB national chairman, said: "It's clear from our research that many small businesses don't trust the big energy suppliers to deliver a smarter, fairer and more transparent billing process. This week we will tell Ofgem and the Competition and Markets Authority that small businesses won't get a fair deal until all energy companies publish easily comparable fixed prices, have much clearer terms and conditions and operate in a more competitive and fair market."

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