British Gas has announced that it will phase in a 12-month backbilling limit for microbusinesses. 

The supplier will phase it in over the next three years and will initially bill customers for three years, lowering to two in 2013 and then 12 months in 2014.

Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman welcomed the backbilling limit agreement. “We welcome British Gas’ commitments on backbilling as an important first step to getting small business customers a fairer deal on their energy contracts,” he said. “However, other energy companies are still pushing for between three and five-year limits on their backbills which could endanger the livelihoods of hundreds of retailers every year.”

“Ofgem must ensure that there is coherence in backbilling policy and introduce the twelve-month limit for small businesses that is already being enjoyed by domestic customers.” 

Ofgem are currently considering whether to accept a self-regulatory approach drawn up by the Energy Retailers Association which would allow energy companies to back bill their customers for between three and five years’ worth of energy usage. ACS, Consumer Focus and the FSB have already collectively condemned the approach and have called for Ofgem to intervene.

The ACS is also calling on retailers to write to their MP about unfair energy contracts. A pro forma letter is available on its website.