In a bid to enhance consumer protection and ensure fair treatment for businesses in the non-domestic energy sector, Ofgem, the UK’s energy regulator, has announced a series of new regulations. These rules are set to bring about greater transparency, improved customer service, and simplified dispute resolution processes.

The changes, slated to take effect from July 1, 2024, mark a significant step towards ensuring that businesses of all sizes, including public services, charities, and utilities, receive fair treatment from energy suppliers. Under these regulations, energy suppliers will be required to adhere to expanded Standards of Conduct, which will now cover businesses of any size. This extension of coverage empowers Ofgem to take action against suppliers found to be treating non-domestic customers unfairly.

Moreover, a new licensing rule will mandate non-domestic energy suppliers to direct Micro Business consumers to organizations like Citizens Advice for assistance with any issues they encounter. This move aims to provide businesses with the necessary support and guidance when navigating the complexities of energy contracts and disputes.

One of the key provisions of these regulations involves ensuring greater transparency regarding broker fees. Energy suppliers will be required to clearly display any fees associated with third-party services, such as those provided by energy brokers, on contracts. This measure aims to prevent any ambiguity surrounding additional costs and empower businesses to make more informed decisions.

In addition to these changes, Ofgem plans to introduce further amendments by the end of the year. These include expanding the requirement for contract terms to display broker fees from Micro Business consumers to all non-domestic customers. Furthermore, suppliers will only be permitted to work with third-party intermediaries that are members of recognized redress schemes, providing businesses with reassurance that they can access fair dispute resolution processes.

Tim Jarvis, Ofgem’s Director General for Markets, emphasized the importance of these regulations in ensuring that businesses receive the service they deserve. He highlighted Ofgem’s commitment to working closely with businesses of all sizes to ensure compliance with the new rules.

These developments come at a time when the government is also taking steps to redefine Small Businesses and expand their access to complaint resolution options within the energy sector. Energy UK’s Deputy Director, Daniel Portis, expressed support for these initiatives, underlining the industry’s collaborative efforts to enhance customer protection and regulatory oversight in the non-domestic energy market.

With these new regulations in place, businesses can look forward to greater transparency, fair treatment, and improved support when dealing with energy suppliers, ultimately fostering a more conducive environment for business operations in the energy sector.

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Last Update: April 8, 2024