The energy regulator is seeking powers that will allow it to act against Third Party Intermediaries (TPIs) who mislead non-domestic customers.
TPIs are organisations or individuals that give energy-related advice or help companies to procure energy or manage their energy needs.
Concerns have been raised that TPIs operating in the non-domestic market are not subject to sector-specific regulation.
At present the energy regulator Ofgem does not license TPIs. Instead, these companies have to follow general consumer protection rules, including those that relate to business customers, such as the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations (BPRs) 2008, which prohibits misleading advertising to businesses. The regulations are currently enforced by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Trading Standards.
However, Ofgem is concerned that the OFT and Trading Standards may not view energy as a priority as these bodies have economy-wide remits. The regulator has applied for enforcement powers under the BPRs that would enable it to establish injunctions against entities that market energy contracts and services to businesses in a misleading manner. Ofgem confirmed on 11 October is aiming to gain these powers later this year.