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Ofgem microbusiness protections are significant improvement, says Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice, in its roles as the official consumer watchdog for domestic and microbusiness energy consumers, has responded to Ofgem’s announcement of proposals for new protections for microbusinesses.

Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“The proposals announced yesterday are good news for around 1.5m microbusinesses. Our research showed how the actions of unscrupulous brokers can lead to microbusinesses paying more than they need to, being aggressively pursued for debts and being needlessly disconnected.

“Cooling-off periods, brokers being part of alternative dispute resolution processes and other measures would provide microbusinesses with significantly improved protections.

“Microbusinesses are diverse and range from pubs and convenience stores to sole traders like photographers and many will have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. As well as these changes, Ofgem must make sure microbusinesses struggling with debts are treated fairly by suppliers in the months ahead.”

Background

Citizens Advice research (October 2019) found that around 1.5 million UK businesses faced a greater risk of having their energy supply disconnected than the average household, and that some microbusinesses were being exploited by unscrupulous energy brokers.

Notes to editors

  1. Citizens Advice includes the national charity; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.
  2. Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and post. We provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.
  3. The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free, independent support for prosecution and defence witnesses in every criminal court in England and Wales.
  4. Citizens Advice offers Pension Wise services at 500 locations in England and Wales.
  5. Citizens Advice’s services are free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to all regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  6. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  7. For consumer advice, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 to talk in Welsh.
  8. We helped 2.6 million people face to face, by phone, email and webchat in 2017-18. For service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.
  9. Citizens Advice staff are supported by over 23,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 locations in England and Wales.

Fairer energy deals for microbusinesses

Original article link: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/how-citizens-advice-works/media/press-releases/ofgem-microbusiness-protections-are-significant-improvement-says-citizens-advice/

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