Call for Ofgem to protect small businesses hit by high energy costs

An investigation reveals a record number of winding-up petitions expected to be issued this year by gas and electricity suppliers

Law firm Harcus Parker has called for a moratorium on energy suppliers issuing winding-up petitions against small businesses facing high energy costs, as the number of petitions is expected to reach a record high in 2023.

The firm’s investigation revealed that three energy companies have already filed 32 winding-up petitions in the first four months of the year.

In response, the government has written to Ofgem urging the regulator to provide more protection for struggling businesses.

Harcus Parker, representing thousands of claimants seeking repayment of undisclosed commissions on energy bills, has welcomed the government’s intervention and highlighted the importance of a moratorium on winding up petitions until the legal case is resolved.

Harcus Parker said its group legal action could potentially recoup up to £2 billion in undisclosed commissions.

An Ofgem spokesperson told ELN: “We know that many businesses are locked into fixed-price contracts signed last year that are much higher than the current market would deliver now and that these costs are posing an enormous challenge for some businesses.

“While as a regulator, we can’t unpick private contracts, we want to see commercially sensible solutions that help non-domestic customers and we recently wrote to suppliers to ask them to show flexibility and we will continue to press suppliers on this, while we review the regulation of the non-domestic market more broadly.”

ELN has approached the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero for comment.

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