Editorial – Is brokering broken?

Today Ofgem has announced it wants to have more power to crack down on rogue energy brokers. What appropriate timing for our awards? But stepping aside from the self congratulatory […]

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By Sumit Bose

Today Ofgem has announced it wants to have more power to crack down on rogue energy brokers. What appropriate timing for our awards?

But stepping aside from the self congratulatory stuff it does show how unregulated the energy consultancy business is.

Our story today fills you in on what is being proposed but in essence Ofgem wants to enforce legislative powers that would allow it to take direct action against brokers that mis-sell.

It also wants a code of practice, something the industry has long talked about but never actioned. Philip Cullum, Consumer Partner at Ofgem said: “We want powers to take action against intermediaries that mis-sell so businesses can have more confidence when using brokers. This move sits alongside other measures we have proposed, including enforceable standards of conduct for how suppliers should treat businesses and developing a Code of Practice for brokers. We are also scrutinising the use by suppliers of rollover contracts for businesses.”

So far the early reaction to this news has been positive from all sections of the industry but will it take action? Yes there are issues of mis-selling and rollovers that blight the I&C sector and you have to ask who is really policing it? Or more interestingly who is interested in policing it if as is often perceived, suppliers turn a blind eye to practices from brokers?

But it is the SME sector that really is a web of deceit and double dealing (allegedly), the reason is simple, most small business owners are unaware of how the sector works and what they should be asking for. If Ofgem do get these powers and if they do more importantly act on them the first stage must be informing the SME sector of how a power contract should run and what their rights are.

The Energy Live Consultancy Awards are about setting the standard and higlighting best practice and if Ofgem can help to bring about a code of conduct even better. The industry is changing and it can do more to help itself but perhaps today’s announcement will speed up the process of cleaning up the sector for the benefit of all.