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ACS calls for government to get tough on energy companies

The Association of Convenience Stores has called on Energy Secretary Chris Huhne to recommend an overhaul in the way energy companies deal with business customers in an attempt to protect retailers from the practice of backbilling.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

ACS calls for government to get tough on energy companies

The Association of Convenience Stores has called on Energy Secretary Chris Huhne to recommend an overhaul in the way energy companies deal with business customers in an attempt to protect retailers from the practice of backbilling.

In a letter to the Secretary of State, ACS Chief Executive James Lowman highlighted the practices employed by energy companies when backbilling business customers. Under current regulations, energy companies can bill local shops for six years’ worth of incorrect meter readings, often at no fault to the retailer. This can result in a bill of thousands of pounds and the subsequent threat of disconnection if the bill is not paid immediately, said the ACS.

The ACS’ comments follow  Mr Huhne's promise to “get tough” on energy companies as part of his speech to Liberal Democrat Party Conference.

ACS Chief Executive James Lowman said: “Retailers are currently at the mercy of energy companies, who are landing shop owners with bills worth tens of thousands of pounds and then threatening to disconnect them, effectively cutting off their livelihoods.”

“For too long, energy companies have had a free reign over businesses and have been able to tie them up into unreasonable contracts. We must see a complete overhaul of the way energy companies do business with their non-domestic customers.”

The ACS said it is currently working with Ofgem to develop a backbilling code of practice for microbusinesses and has submitted a consultation response to the Ofgem Retail Market Review. 

 

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