E.ON was the first supplier to implement a maximum one-year period for backdated bills for small businesses in May, and Scottish Power will introduce the policy from January 2014, for charges relating to a supplier error.
Scottish Power had already reduced the period to 24 months in January 2013 and has committed that existing business customers receive contract renewals 60 days prior to contract expiry via recorded delivery, and have the flexibility to negotiate a new contract up to 30 days before their existing one expires.
SSE will extend its back-billing policy to cover small business customers from April 2014, after introducing the commitment for ‘micro’ businesses, and has promised to accept "full responsibility" when a customer has been under-billed due to a genuine billing error.
British Gas, Npower and EDF Energy have also confirmed that they will limit back-billing to one year in 2014, but have not specified when the change will be implemented.
Automatic rollover contracts
Earlier this year, the Publican’s Morning Advertiser revealed that five of the big six energy suppliers had agreed to terminate the use of automatic rollover business contracts, after the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) began reviewing the contracts in July.
Back-dated bills, like automatic rollover contracts, are widely thought to penalise small businesses. In October, the PMA reported that a County Durham licensee won a legal battle against Npower in dispute over a £38,000 electricity bill, saving his business around £88,000.