The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed the launch of a new Ofgem consultation which seeks to help small businesses shop around for energy deals.

The new rules would require suppliers to make price comparisons easier by including the price of the customer’s current deal along with new rates.

Ofgem is also proposing that suppliers tell businesses their annual energy use, so that they have all the information they need to compare their supplier’s prices with the rest of the market.

All suppliers would also have to use a standard 30-day notice period, and acknowledge all notices given by businesses wishing to terminate their contract within five working days of receipt.

Ofgem is also gathering further evidence on automatic rollovers, and will reconsider the case for a ban in six months’ time.

The practice is still widely used by many independent suppliers.

“Our rules already limit automatic rollover of contracts to a maximum of one year. We have not ruled out banning them altogether and we are considering whether this is proportionate and in customers’ interest,” Ofgem said.

ACS chief executive James Lowman applauded Ofgem ”for listening to the concerns of small businesses”.

“A number of the measures announced  in the consultation are measures that we have campaigned for,” he said.

“Our members do not believe that there is a place in today’s marketplace for automatic rollovers, especially as the rates that retailers are being rolled on to are significantly above what they would pay if they were to shop around. We urge Ofgem to move swiftly to outlaw automatic rollovers altogether in the coming months.”

The consultation closes on 28 August and Ofgem expects the amendments to be implemented by 31 March 2015.