Ofgem proposals ‘needed for fairness’ says UKH

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Energy crisis: Ofgem makes 'much needed' proposals for businesses (Credit: Getty/vm)
Energy crisis: Ofgem makes 'much needed' proposals for businesses (Credit: Getty/vm)

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UKHospitality (UKH) has backed Ofgem’s proposals to expand existing rules of standards of conduct to al businesses.

The energy regulator has also pledged to increase transparency for businesses when using brokers and expanding who can access the energy ombudsman.

UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The treatment of hospitality businesses by some energy suppliers has been nothing short of disgraceful throughout this crisis. These proposals are much needed and will provide some essential protection for businesses.

Nicholls said bringing all businesses under the umbrella of the standards of conduct would ensure a level playing field in the business energy market and, crucially, mean action can be taken when certain standards are not met.

Going further

She continued: “I would urge Ofgem to go further in their plans to expand the energy ombudsman and allow all businesses to have the ability to take complaints to it.

“Improving the transparency of broker fees is very positive and will put a stop to instances where businesses had been misled or unfairly treated by some brokers, which had become increasingly prevalent.

“These are all measures that UKH advocated for and I’m pleased that Ofgem has listened to the concerns of hospitality businesses. It’s imperative that these proposals are formally introduced as soon as possible – enhanced protections for businesses can’t come soon enough.”

The Morning Advertiser​ teamed up with UKH in August to ensure the industry was heard as part of a consultation process.

Making changes

Industry regulator Ofgem launched the consultation to assess support for a number of recommendations it proposed to regulate the energy market for businesses.

As part of that process, UKH urged Ofgem to make five changes to ensure a more sustainable environment for businesses across the hospitality spectrum.

The five demands were that Ofgem should:

  1. Move rapidly to fulfil its recommendation to encourage suppliers to work with hospitality businesses to resolve issues many are facing with prices fixed at levels far above current market rates. This should include direct, immediate communication to suppliers from Ofgem.
  2. Urgently enact its proposed changes to offer greater transparency to customers, deliver more timely responses to customer complaints and drive better practice in setting deemed rates.
  3. Deliver wider access to the energy ombudsman to redress the imbalance of power between energy suppliers and businesses, which currently lies too heavily with the suppliers.
  4. Put in places measures to prevent the blacklisting of entire sectors, particularly hospitality, as this dramatically reduces competition and unfairly penalises businesses.
  5. Improve regulation of energy brokers, including extending protections to more businesses, the introduction of a formal redress scheme and greater transparency around fees.

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