Ofgem announces new rules to improve customer service for homes and businesses
Source: The Ofgem press release on 26th July 2023:
For the non-domestic market, some of the immediate changes Ofgem has taken to help the non-domestic energy market include working with industry to adapt the Retail Energy Code to avoid excessive delays and unreasonable requests for documentation during tenancy changes and urging suppliers to be more flexible with businesses who signed up for peak fixed rate prices.
But there are issues flagged in the review that require regulatory change, so Ofgem is announcing it will consult on:
- Introducing better complaint handling between suppliers and businesses - the review heard businesses did not always get the right level of customer service.
- Extending micro business protections to all businesses so energy bills spell out what is being paid to energy brokers plus allowing businesses to resolve disputes through a redress scheme.
- Creating better guidance over ‘deemed contract rates’ between customers who have not yet agreed contractual terms with a supplier to avoid problems like overcharging.
As Ofgem’s powers in non-domestic retail market are more limited than in the domestic sector, it is asking government to consider further protections in areas it doesn’t have the power to regulate, like energy brokers. Ofgem is also asking for businesses to be given access to the energy ombudsman. It also calls for further consideration for vulnerable domestic consumers on non-domestic contracts – like people who live in care homes, social housing and in mobile home parks – who are at risk of missing out on important protections.