Closing the protection gap

Closing the protection gap 2.99 MB

Citizens Advice provides advice and support to thousands of microbusinesses each year. These businesses often contact us with problems for which they have relatively few protections. This includes:

  • Problems around debt, which can ultimately result in disconnection from their energy supply.

  • Contract issues.

  • Problems caused by a minority of third party intermediaries - particularly brokers - using aggressive tactics to misrepresent and mis-sell. 

These protection gaps illustrate that the non-domestic energy market is not working well enough for the smallest businesses. We think it’s time to start to close these gaps. The recommendations of the [Closing the protection gap] report seek to address these and other issues faced by microbusinesses.

Our report has 5 main recommendations:

  • Industry should improve processes for microbusiness consumers around debt and disconnection

  • TPIs should be transparent on commission, market coverage, and any fees should appear on bills

  • Government should introduce appropriate regulation for brokers and other third party intermediaries

  • Ofgem should protect microbusinesses if their suppliers fail

  • Ofgem should evaluate the experience of vulnerable microbusiness consumers in the non-domestic sector

Supporting research:

[The Role of Third Party Intermediaries (TPIs) in the GB SME and Microbusiness Energy Supply Sector]