According to the trade body, the margin between wholesales and retail energy prices has rocketed over the past six months, despite the Government’s intervention with its Energy Bill Relief Scheme.
While typically the retail price would be slightly more than the wholesale, this is no longer the case.
Hospitality businesses have reported a significant difference between the two without a rational explanation to justify it, UKH stated.
Extremely vulnerable sector
The trade body, which recently made its energy guidance available to all hospitality firms, said any investigation needs to be rapid and reporting before Christmas.
It would also need to ensure the energy market is operating competitively and the Government is getting “value for money from its support package”.
The sector is “extremely vulnerable to energy price fluctuations” and have been severely impacted by the continuing crisis UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said.
She added: “The soaring costs are hitting businesses that have not fully recovered from the pandemic, may be carrying substantial debt as a result and are facing a downturn in consumer spend due to the cost-of-living crisis.
“The Government’s support package for business is absolutely vital but there are real fears this substantial package of support is being undermined by energy suppliers quoting far above the wholesale price with no transparency as to why.
“Many businesses are still not being offered fixed rates at all, despite the certainty provided to suppliers by the Government.”
The UKH boss called for an investigation into energy suppliers’ pricing for the hospitality sector.
Nicholls said: “There needs to be complete clarity and certainty energy suppliers are not deliberately profiteering from the current crisis and the size of the Government’s intervention.
“That is why I’ve urged the business secretary to recommend Ofgem and the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) urgently investigate.
“I believe it is in the interests of business, the taxpayer and the Government itself to be completely assured its support package is being delivered in the fair way it intended and not used for commercial gain at a time of national difficulty.”