ACS: Ofgem Visits Convenience Retailers

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has given the Ofgem a flavour of the challenges faced by local shops, by taking the energy market regulator to see a number of convenience retailers to discuss how they interact with the energy market and to find ways they can help improve their experiences.

Ofgem visited independent retailers Roli Ranger, Arjan Mehr and Julian Taylor-Green’s stores as part of their strategic review of the microbusiness energy market. The key issues raised at the visits were the lack of transparency to be able to compare prices in the market, how relationships between third party intermediaries (e.g. energy brokers) and microbusinesses work, and the increasing energy costs that convenience retailers are facing.

Ofgem has launched a call for evidence seeking views and experiences from microbusinesses as a result of their concerns that some are struggling to find a better energy deal and may be paying more than they should.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We are pleased to have been able to support Ofgem with their visits to the retailers’ stores so that they can gain an insight into the issues that microbusinesses face with their energy suppliers and contracts.

“Ofgem has already addressed the issues that retailers had experienced with backbilling but it is important that this review looks into the other challenges that microbusinesses face.”

Martin Cave, Ofgem’s Chairman said “Microbusinesses like Roli, Arjan and Julian’s convenience stores are the backbone of our country’s economy.

Yet we know that the energy market isn’t working as well as it should for them. Too many microbusiness owners are still finding it hard to navigate what is a complex and at times opaque market to get a better energy deal and are paying too much as a result.

“After gathering inputs from stakeholders as part of our strategic review, this winter we will publish our action plan aimed at delivering a properly functioning competitive retail energy market for all microbusinesses.”

ACS’ submission highlights the challenges that microbusinesses face in the energy market, including difficulty to compare prices like for like across a range of energy suppliers. In the absence of these types of services, microbusinesses have relied on third party intermediaries to navigate the energy market. ACS believes, as part of their strategic review, Ofgem must regulate the third party intermediary market to ensure that microbusinesses are adequately protected from any malpractice.

The full submission is available here.

This entry was posted by Chloe on Fri, 21/06/2019 - 11:50