The drinks industry has praised watchdog Ofgem’s latest review for highlighting recent behaviour of energy suppliers, which has left some businesses unable to secure contracts.
Based on information collected from Ofgem’s stakeholders, the non-domestic market review found that at certain points throughout 2022, the majority of suppliers did not offer fixed term contracts to businesses, with some ceasing to offer any contracts for a short time when prices peaked.
While businesses are now increasingly able to receive energy contracts again, Ofgem noted that energy prices still “remain more volatile than usual and are still at around twice the levels of historical prices”.
Responding to the review, Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), said: “This long-awaited review from Ofgem, which publicly notes the unacceptable behaviour of energy suppliers towards businesses over the past year, is welcome.”
After identifying “clear cases of poor conduct by specific suppliers”, Ofgem urged suppliers to “deliver better customer support”, while suggesting that the government work with energy providers to support businesses.
While the BBPA’s McClarkin welcomed the recommendations, she said the “failure to act sooner has cost businesses across the country millions of pounds and undue stress for months on end”.
“Now, what we need is these recommendations to urgently become policy and take effect giving reassurance that the same behaviour won’t be allowed to happen again, and that the businesses and livelihoods of people across the country won’t be at the mercy of huge energy supplier costs again.
“Given the clear need for further action, we will continue to work with Ofgem and the government to ensure pubs and breweries receive fair deals and treatment when it comes to their contracts in the future.”