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20th April 2023

Ofgem moving at glacial pace, but urgent action needed to save businesses

Energy regulator Ofgem is moving too slowly and not adequately disciplining suppliers to save businesses across the country from failure, the BBPA has warned.

Ofgem’s lack of urgency in enforcing a fair and sustainable energy market for business customers is putting hundreds of thousands of businesses in villages, towns and cities across the UK at risk of failure due to the unacceptable conduct of energy suppliers, the trade association which represents pubs and brewers has cautioned.

Following news that Ofgem has introduced measures to protect some domestic customers from the forced installation of pre-payment meters, the trade association has noted that the regulator is not moving fast enough to introduce measures to save millions of businesses from failure in the coming months.

The call follows a string of similar alerts in recent days by business groups representing every industry from corner stores to hairdressers, with the Association insisting that Ofgem must step in and instruct suppliers to offer renegotiations of contracts for businesses.

With just weeks to go until energy bills come in at the increased rate since Government support fell away on 1 April, the BBPA is insisting Ofgem act now or risk businesses in key sectors in every part of the UK closing in the coming weeks and months.

A call for evidence was launched by Ofgem earlier this year requesting feedback from non-domestic energy users to identify potential failures in the market, any statutory changes are not due to be implemented until winter of this year.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association:

“The alarm has been raised for months and in the next few weeks we will see just how severe the damage to pubs and brewers and thousands of other valued high street businesses is due to this energy crisis.

“Ofgem’s failure to adequately regulate energy suppliers who are profiteering at the expense of small businesses and domestic customers alike is astonishing. Swathes of community-minded, cherished businesses will be wiped out and high streets decimated if nothing is done.

“The fact they’ve stepped in to protect domestic customers shows it can act on misconduct but is doing very little to respond quickly to the hundreds of examples provided by our industry and others of unfair charges and unacceptable behaviour by energy suppliers to business customers.

“At the very least, renegotiation of contracts must be offered to those businesses who were forced to sign up to extortionate tariffs and are now completely unable to afford the costs following the reduction in energy support from Government.”


For more information or to arrange an interview contact Jessie Powell at / 020 7627 9199

Notes to editors:

Case studies available for interview:

  • Publican in Exeter, Devon whose bills have tripled from before the energy crisis and will increase by almost 100% again due to Government energy support ending
  • Publican in Eastbourne locked into extortionate energy contracts at £150k up from £20k a year she was receiving £45k back due to Government relief scheme but that has dropped dramatically

Key facts & figures on the energy crisis:

  • From 1 April the average pub is expected to pay almost £20k more annually for their energy bills (this based on a pub with a weekly turnover of £9k)
  • On average pubs have had to increase turnover by at least 11% just to breakeven, not to turn a profit
  • Wholesale energy prices are, on average, lower now than they were in March 2022 but these wholesale price drops are not being passed onto customers locked into extortionate contracts

About the British Beer & Pub Association
The BBPA represents UK companies which between them brew over 90% of the beer sold in the UK and own 20,000 pubs.

Our members include international companies, national and local brewers and pub businesses operating managed and tenanted pubs in cities, towns and villages across the country.

These businesses are at the heart of communities and local economies and include family businesses who have been brewing beer and running pubs for hundreds of years alongside emerging brewers and pub operators.

  • The UK’s beer and pub industry supports close to 940,000 jobs
  • The industry adds £26.2billion to the UK’s economy each year


For more information or to arrange an interview contact Jessie Powell at / 020 7627 9199