The recommendations following the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’s two-year investigation of the energy industry have been slammed by MP’s who claim they are turning the ‘clock back’. The report was released on 24th June, the day of the EU referendum and unsurprisingly, due to the timing, didn’t catch much media attention. The findings concluded that consumers were paying £1.4bn more than they should and that 70% of domestic customers were on expensive default tariffs. They also concluded that companies supplying micro-businesses should publish their prices and shouldn’t be allowed to roll customers over to sub-optimal rates.
The findings of the report are mainly concerned with the domestic market but do make reference to business consumers, most particularly microbusinesses with occasional reference to SMEs more broadly. The report points out that almost half of microbusinesses are on rates that have not been actively negotiated and this percentage is only slightly lower for SMEs. The reason seems to be a general disengagement and belief that it isn’t worth bothering. The opaqueness of the tariffs offered to these customers and ‘auto-rollovers’ means that many consumers are left baffled and bemused by their bills and the contract terms they have signed.
The report also commented on the lack of trust these consumers have concerning the role of brokers like ourselves and it was pleasing to see that the CMA concur that brokers can play a valuable role in making sure that SMEs are offered options within the market. It is important that the brokers are transparent in their presentation of the options and how they are being paid for their services. This is the cornerstone of our operations but we know that not all brokers behave as we do. That said it is always my advice to businesses of all sizes is to actively negotiate their contracts and to keep track of their billing on a month by month basis. Using a broker is definitely an easy way to do this at a very reasonable price.