Earlier this year a poll of independent retailers put the unequal relationship between energy supply companies and their customers at the very top of the shops' list of issues that needed to be sorted out under a new government.

Retailers who believe that small businesses like theirs are left unprotected from abuse by the power barons particularly in unfair and unclear conditions in contracts were heartened when both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties addressed the matter in their election manifestos. But by the announcement of the coalition agenda last month, the issue had fallen off the 'to do' list.

To be fair to the government, there's a lot to do to right the stricken economy, and introducing regulation to markets may not be a priority. But campaigners believe a shake-up of the industry, and in particular its regulator Ofgem, is inevitable, and will hold the parties to their earlier commitments.

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