Fifth of firms say energy brokers don’t give accurate info

Around a fifth (21%) of businesses flatly disagreed that energy brokers gave them accurate information about the services they provided. Fewer than half of firms (49%) agreed they were given […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Around a fifth (21%) of businesses flatly disagreed that energy brokers gave them accurate information about the services they provided.

Fewer than half of firms (49%) agreed they were given accurate info when contacted by brokers, while 20% were neutral on the issue.

What’s more, less than two in five businesses (38%) said brokers were upfront about the cost of their service.

More than a quarter (26%) disagreed that a third party intermediary (TPI) identified themselves clearly as an energy broker.

The telephone survey of 1,300 non-domestic or business consumers throws up a worrying statistic for a slice of the energy sector which is trying to buff up its public image.

The sample included businesses in a broad range of industry sectors in Great Britain including the private and public sector.

The figures may harden the views of those who believe TPIs need more regulation. Ofgem is due to bring out new plans for regulating TPIs any day now, tipped to be a mandatory code of practice.

Polling was done for regulator Ofgem by consultancy Element Energy and market researchers at the Research Perspective between June and August 2013. The report was handed to Ofgem in December and discreetly put on its website.

While businesses don’t suffer a barrage of approaches, two-fifths of firms were contacted by energy brokers more than five times in 12 months.

The poll found an average of 12 approaches in a year and predictably, larger businesses were approached more often than smaller or micro-businesses.

Out of the non-domestic consumers who chose their current energy deal with help from a broker, more than three-quarters (77%) used them to procure or arrange the contract.

A much smaller portion used a broker for energy management (13%) or accounting (9%).

The research will give the sector some hope as a big majority (80%) of those who use brokers were satisfied, versus 10% dissatisfied.