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New research proves ‘great UK business energy rip off’


Businesses are being rolled over and locked into energy contracts without their permission, SwitchMyBusiness.com has found, alongside a catalogue of other issues.

The findings are striking – we found that 18.4% of businesses have been automatically rolled over onto a new contract without their permission and a further 16% don’t know whether they have been a victim of auto-renewal.

The study comes in the wake of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) report which found that UK SMEs are unnecessarily losing £500 million a year on energy.

While Ofgem and some energy suppliers have made steps towards making the business energy market fairer, the practice of ‘auto-renewal’ – where businesses are ‘locked in’ to another fixed-term contract without their express permission – continues.

The SwitchMyBusiness.com research also showed that more than 30% of small businesses have been shunted onto a ‘deemed contract’ (30.4%) with the same supplier at the end of a fixed contract, leaving them paying up to 80% more.

A further 16.8% are unsure whether they have been put onto a deemed contract, and the majority of UK SMEs stated they have had problems understanding their energy contract at all (50.4%), a sign the business energy market urgently needs more clarity.

Switch business energy supplier

Knowing how to switch supplier is vital if businesses are to avoid getting ripped off or paying more than they need to. But more than a quarter of smaller to medium-sized businesses (25.6%) do not fully understand how to terminate their current business energy contract, meaning as many as 1.3 million businesses are losing out on better energy deals.

“These findings prove that the UK’s SMEs are still getting a raw deal,” says Ivan McKeever, CEO of SwitchMyBusiness.com. “Smaller to medium-sized businesses are in a uniquely challenging position: the business energy market lacks the transparency that consumers now have and smaller businesses do not have the resources to liaise with lots of suppliers and negotiate a good deal.”

Better deal for SME energy

The research shows that much more needs to be done to help small businesses with their energy bills. SwitchMyBusiness.com has publicly appealed for the Government to take urgent action:

  • Auto-renewal must be outlawed – the Micro Businesses and Energy Contract Roll-Over Bill 2012–13 should be reintroduced to Parliament or a similar Bill drafted.
  • There should be a cap on how much more businesses who are on deemed contracts are charged: Ofgem says that around 10% of smaller businesses are on such ‘deemed contracts’ at any one time, which costs an average of 80% more.
  • All suppliers must be put on a level playing field, with suppliers required to make information easily accessible and switches more straightforward to ease the burden on busy businesses – the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has recently made similar observations.

A clear energy comparison

As we have proven, cheaper business electricity and gas is available for many, many small to medium sized businesses. We are passionate about stopping UK SMEs paying too much and will keep campaigning to make the energy market fairer. In the meantime, we offer practical help – we always contact all of our customers ahead of their renewal date to ensure they have the option to switch to the cheapest energy supplier.

Our process takes only 20 minutes and has received the top rating on independent site Trust Pilot. Fill in our simple form (also at the top right of this page) or give us a call on 0330 0100 251 now to start saving.

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Excellent, 9.7 / 10

Very easy

"Very easy. Bea Luseni very efficient & knowledgeable."

This review was posted by Alan Duffy on the 31st of March 2017

Super helpful and easy to work with

"Recommend this company in a heartbeat - Nicole Borneuf was super easy to talk to, was not pushy in the slightest, very helpful and replied with all my questions very professionally and did all she could to help. I had to deal with a few companies to sort my business energy out, all but Nicole were too pushy for my liking and I refused to follow through with them. Thank Nicole - you are a credit to your company, thank you for making the stressful energy change so easy."

This review was posted by Mia Drew on the 29th of March 2017

An Extremely Competent Company

"Switch my business has not only helped my SME secure a good energy deal for the second year running but Jessica swiftly found a alternative supplier for me when I was let down on the day of switching by the new contractual provider I had chosen some 4 months previously. Being suddenly out of contract and without provider is everyone's energy nightmare. Greatest thanks."

This review was posted by S McMillan on the 29th of March 2017

Helpful, friendly and we saved lots of money!

"Jessica Purnell was helpful and friendly, she made the whole process easy and simple AND we saved lots of money thanks Jess"

This review was posted by Melanie Baker on the 23rd of March 2017

Quick & Easy

"Kabibi was very helpful and the whole process was very efficient. The one small reservation I had was that I was phoned up by Kabibi almost immediately having received my online quote - which wasn't enough time for me to finish reading the quotes! Fortunately she was able to assist me in a greater savings on both Gas & Electricity, and so as long as the switchover is seamless I will remain very happy with the service."

This review was posted by Amanda Brown on the 21st of March 2017