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New FSB survey confirms the unfair energy market for small businesses

More than eight in ten small business owners believe they get a raw deal from the Big Six energy firms, a new survey reveals.

In the first study of its kind since the Big Six energy suppliers pledged more support for small businesses by ending rollover contracts, the FSB has conducted an exclusive survey of over 1,400 of its members to get a clearer picture of small energy for small businesses.

The survey found that there is some way to go before the Big Six energy suppliers – British Gas, Npower, SSE, Scottish Power, E.On, and EDF – regain the trust of their small business customers.

Small firms desperately need the energy market to be fairer and more transparent, says the FSB, which now wants energy companies to take action and publish easily comparable prices for small business customers, commit to not reintroducing rollover contracts and ensure customers who want to switch can do so easily.

The survey findings show:
• Almost all (81 percent) of FSB members said energy suppliers don’t care about their needs.
• Four in five (81 percent) firms agree that published tariffs would have a positive impact on their business, with the main benefits being more competitive pricing and easier switching of accounts.
• Two thirds (65 percent) of small businesses surveyed think it is difficult to switch energy supplier. Amongst those who attempted to switch the biggest problems cited were unclear notice periods, complicated contract terms and the speed of the switching process.
• Only a quarter (27 percent) of small firms believe there is enough competition in the energy market

The FSB will present this research in its response to the Ofgem consultation tomorrow (23 May) on whether the energy market should be referred to the Competitions and Market Authority.

John Allan, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said: “It’s clear from our research that many small businesses don’t trust the big energy suppliers to deliver a smarter, fairer and more transparent billing process as four in five of our members say that energy companies don’t care about them.

“This week we will tell Ofgem and the Competition and Markets Authority that small businesses won’t get a fair deal until all energy companies publish easily comparable fixed prices, have much clearer terms and conditions and operate in a more competitive and fair market.”