Chamber services continue helping businesses in wake of Ofgem’s new rules

By Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce

28 Mar 2014

Most of the news about energy suppliers at the moment is remarkably gloomy, and it may be tempting to switch-off at the very mention of “energy prices”.

Consequently, it comes as bright news that Ofgem are introducing radical new rules to ensure fair deals for businesses.

The electricity and gas market regulatory body have proposed a maximum of 30 days’ notice for small companies who wish to switch energy contracts, a mandate for suppliers to inform businesses how much energy they have used over the past year, plus a new code of practice to prevent purposefully misleading offers. The regulations also stipulate that suppliers can only work with third parties who are accredited under the new codes.

Business owners will know how crucial getting the best energy deal is for managing their finances, and ultimately for the survival of their enterprises.

The regulation changes have been much applauded by the Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce, an organisation dedicated to helping businesses become more profitable. Interestingly, the independent energy brokers used exclusively for Chamber members, Chamber Utilities, have already adhered to many of the practices outlined in the new Ofgem regulations.

As a not-for-profit group, Chamber Utilities’ primary goal is to help businesses get the best possible outcome for their energy bills. One of the services they offer is to help businesses manage their energy consumption, using their specialised Smart Meters.

While the new regulations will require energy suppliers to give an overview of energy consumption over the year, the Smart Meters give up to hourly reports of businesses’ energy use, empowering them to control their consumption to the greatest degree of accuracy.

Chamber Utilities, run by ENER-G Procurement Limited, also strives to make energy deals as transparent as possible for businesses. The Chamber of Commerce service provides a comprehensive analysis of energy tariffs and contract terms in an unbiased way.

In this respect, the Ofgem regulations won’t have much of an impact on Chamber Utilities practice, as they already delineate energy deals in an impartial manner. Nonetheless, you can be assured that Chamber Utilities has a lot of practice in making sense of a mystifying energy market.

On top of this, Chamber Utilities have the power to check historical bills and claim back on overcharges. While this service has been beneficial to businesses for some time, it currently coincides perfectly with Ofgem’s orders for the “big 6” suppliers to hand back £400m owed to customers.

Included in this figure is at least £204m from old business accounts, affecting a minimum of 300,000 companies. Chamber Utilities have ample experience in securing refunds on businesses’ behalf, and can monitor companies’ invoices to resolve any inaccuracies for them. As you can see, Chamber Utilities is very much on par with Ofgem’s bid to protect businesses.

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