New proposals will grant 200,000 businesses access to The Energy Ombudsman, but leading energy litigation specialists, Energy Solicitors Ltd, are questioning whether these changes are enough.

The proposals suggest that small businesses will gain access to the Ombudsman’s services and be treated more like household consumers, but the legal experts say there is still plenty of work to be done.

Senior Partner, Victoria Myers, said: The Energy Ombudsman is an independent body that should be able to get the supplier to revisit your complaint, decide whether the right decision was made, and where appropriate obtain financial compensation.

“The proposed changes to expand the types of eligible businesses that can use the Energy Ombudsman is vital, given the current climate, but there are still thousands of businesses left without help – that’s where Energy Solicitors comes in.”

Historically, only “micro-businesses” with less than 10 employees had access to the Ombudsman’s complaint process, however, with an 84% increase in complaints last year, the need for better representation for businesses was identified.

Under the new proposals, companies with fewer than 50 employees will be able to take complaints to the Energy Ombudsman if they are unhappy with the behaviour of their energy supplier or are stuck in deadlock.

Minister for energy consumers and affordability, Amanda Solloway, said: “This government has always stood by businesses, and we want to ensure they are getting proper support and service in dealing with energy suppliers.

“That’s why we’re proposing expanding the reach of the Energy Ombudsman to cover an extra 200,000 businesses, allowing them to access free, impartial advice and resolve issues with their supplier without the need for an expensive trip to court.”

The changes will expand the existing standards of conduct for suppliers and will give Ofgem the power to take action if suppliers behave poorly towards any business customer.

Common disputes include errors in the ways that bills are calculated, overcharging, commissions not being disclosed and the mis-selling of energy contracts.

Senior Partner, Victoria Myers, continues: “Whilst the Ombudsman should be able to help businesses with energy disputes, we’ve seen that this is not always the case, with dissatisfied businesses, disputes being rejected, or suppliers or brokers not registered on the Ombudsman’s scheme.

“It is also worth remembering that The Ombudsman is impartial and subsequently will not help you to build your case or represent you, and we strongly advise that you do not attempt to instigate court proceedings by yourself.

“If you’ve raised a complaint with your energy supplier, or the Ombudsman but you’re unhappy with their response, Energy Solicitors can issue court proceedings on your behalf, if required, in what otherwise could potentially be a complicated dispute.”

Energy Solicitors is a specialist law firm dedicated to energy litigation for businesses and households. With over 20 years litigation experience, we have an in-depth understanding of the legal claims process, which enables us to adopt a cutting-edge approach to litigation.

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