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Most British consumer legislation and regulatory protection is traditionally focused to protect domestic energy customers, not businesses. However, if your company is considered to be a micro-business then you are able to follow the same complaints process as domestic customers.
A micro-business is defined as a company which meets one of the following criteria (as set out by Government):
- consumes no more than 200,000 kWh of gas a year, or
- consumes no more than 55,000 kWh of electricity a year, or
- has fewer than ten employees (or their full-time equivalent) and also has an annual turnover or annual balance sheet total not exceeding €2m.
You can be defined as a micro-business for just gas, just electricity, or for both. The gas or electricity must be supplied on non-domestic premises.
Resolving complaints with energy companies
If you have a complaint with an energy supplier or a gas or electricity distribution network operator, and your business fits within the micro-business definition shown above, then you should follow the company’s published complaints process. They are obliged to send you a copy of their process if requested and it may also be available on their website.
The Ombudsman Services: energy
If the complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction within 8 weeks (or earlier if your supplier explains that they cannot do anything else to help you) then the Ombudsman Services: Energy may be able to look at your complaint.
Further advice for micro-businesses
If you need advice or encounter difficulties at any time, then the Citizens Advice consumer service provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues.
Visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on:
08454 04 05 06
Further detailed advice for business consumers is also available from the website of Consumer Focus, the national consumer advocate.
A factsheet about the current consumer arrangements is available for further information.