Microbusinesses across the UK are at risk of being “cut off and ripped off”.
That’s the call from Citizens Advice, which is calling on Ofgem, government and industry to address the ‘multiple problems’ faced by microbusinesses in the energy sector.
Making up 96% of all UK businesses, microbusinesses are defined as such if they have less than 10 employees and only use a certain amount of energy.
Citizens Advice says microbusinesses are not protected in the same way as ordinary consumers and risk being needlessly disconnected, aggressively pursued for debts and mis-sold contracts by energy brokers.
Unlike with domestic customers, suppliers do not have to exhaust all other options before disconnecting them and microbusinesses can lose their credit balance if their supplier goes out of business.
Citizens Advice warns a total of around 1.5 million firms face a greater risk of having their energy supply disconnected than the average household and of being exploited by unscrupulous energy brokers.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Microbusinesses should not face the prospect of being cut off or ripped off because of a lack of consumer protections.
“The regulator, industry and government needs to do more to support the shopkeepers, sole traders and entrepreneurs who make up a large number of UK businesses and close this protection gap.”