Open letter to Ofgem

 

Leading social care associations including CareEngland and The Independent Care Group have signed an open letter to Ofgem, challenging the energy regulator to take ‘immediate’ action on hidden charges by energy brokers.

Leading associations from hospitality, retail and social care have signed an open letter to Ofgem, drafted by energy consultancy, Box Power. The open letter challenges the energy regulator Ofgem to take ‘immediate’ action on hidden charges by energy brokers, stating that the businesses they represent which are among the worst hit by the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis are being taken advantage of.

Eight leading groups: UKHospitality, Care England, the British Retail Consortium, the Federation of Independent Retailers, the Association of Convenience Stores, British Independent Retailers’ Association, the Independent Care Group and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations say the problem has been allowed to continue unchecked for too long.

In one example gathered by Box Power, it found a commission fee of £12,000 had been applied to a £49,000 contract for one of 16 care homes operated by the provider for up to 1,200 residents in total. The signatories say this shows how brokers are taking advantage of businesses, which will increase prices for customers in the process.

While legislation for greater transparency has already been introduced for very small businesses, who are known as micro-businesses, under Supplier Licence Conditions, Box Power and the other signatories say the regulator has ‘abandoned’ other firms and organisations.

The letter states, ‘We do not agree that larger businesses are able to look after their own interests, that just because this is a long-standing arrangement that it should continue or that Ofgem are best placed looking at issues affecting microbusinesses only.’

Corin Dalby, Chief Executive Officer of Box Power, who organised the letter, says they will bypass Ofgem and seek help from the Government if the regulator fails to act. He says, ‘For there to be trust, there must be transparency. They shouldn’t have to argue for support from the organisation created to protect all consumers. Rogue brokers are adding excessive commissions and all the while it is the end user who is paying for it.

‘Transparency should be a given, so whatever the level of commission the business is fully aware and in agreement. Not only that but now businesses are incurring even higher energy prices, some brokers are adding even higher fees because they think they can get away with it. This is an extra burden on businesses at exactly the point they can least afford it. We refuse to stand by and allow this to continue and will do all we can to ensure this is brought to a stop.’