Raw material costs have shot up in the last year; none more so than the oil which provides our power – and that has meant a huge increase in bottom-line costs to your business. But there is a way you can keep the rises to a minimum, simply by not allowing the energy suppliers to walk all over you. Since deregulation of the power market there have been a limited number of power suppliers nationally, with restricted choice across the regions, and it has long been a matter of debate whether there is sufficient competition in the market. Consequently, businesses get a raw deal, and C-Store’s Dear Jac column regularly relates tales of woe – tough contract terms, poor service, hidden charges, misleading bills, and even cowboy tactics in recruiting new accounts. That’s where we come in. At C-Store we believe it’s time the energy companies learned to treat their customers with the same respect and loyalty that you show yours, and that suppliers get away with their tactics only because their customers are passive. And we’d like to encourage you to take action. If every C-Store reader threatens to take their business away from their current supplier, by writing to cancel their supply at the end of their present contract, it will introduce some much-needed competition to the market – and that, in turn, will improve service from suppliers keen to hold on to your custom.
It’s a roll-over
Do you know when your current electricity and gas supply contracts end? Chances are, in the hustle and bustle of running your business, it’s slipped your mind. And if you’ve missed the 90-day period you need to give notice of termination, you’re likely to be rolled over into a new long-term contract at a higher tariff. That will mean another year, or more, of over-the-odds bills. It’s called assumptive renewal and it is absolutely legal – there’s absolutely nothing you can do once the deadline is passed. So, by giving notice of termination now, you’ll have suppliers fighting for your custom when your contract ends and also save yourself hundreds of pounds by avoiding a massive and automatic price increase.
Current activity
Over the coming weeks C-Store will work to keep your energy bills as low as possible by: ● Explaining how you can reduce energy consumption through our ‘Protect your Profits’ features ● Challenging energy providers to demonstrate support for small shops ● Exposing suppliers’ poor service and questionable tactics ● Investigating your complaints against suppliers ● Alerting the authorities to your experiences of anti-competitive behaviour
What you can do
● Check the termination terms of your current electricity and gas supply contracts ● Inform your supplier in writing that you do not wish to renew the contract ● Contact other suppliers to negotiate a new deal or use a price comparison service

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