The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed Ofgem’s proposals to introduce a new 12-month backbilling limit for micro-businesses.

The energy regulator announced the new limit after a consultation was held on protecting non-domestic consumers who receive backbills. Earlier this year, the ACS called on Ofgem to take a more active role in protecting small businesses from lengthy ‘catch-up’ bills.

A micro business is generally defined as a small business that employs nine members of staff or fewer.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the steps that Ofgem have taken to ensure that suppliers have appropriate backbilling policies in place. Small businesses should have the same protections as household consumers when dealing with energy companies, and shouldn’t have to decide on energy providers on the basis of the minimum standards that they adhere to when it comes to backbilling.”

Unexpected backbills can be a threat to small businesses, as current limits mean that retailers could recieve a bill worth thousands of pounds. Energy costs remain a significant burden to convenience stores, despite shop owners continuing to invest in energy efficiency. 

At present, it is voluntary for suppliers to limit their backbills to one year for micro-businesses. Non-domestic backbilling limits currently range from anything up to five years, depending on the supplier and fuel type.

For more information on Ofgem’s proposals, visit its official website.