Unfortunately, the energy industry, as with other industries suffers from rogue practice from unscrupulous energy brokers which tarnish the work of good energy brokers. This is mainly because the energy TPI market is poorly regulated, and as with other poorly regulated markets, a few people mislead and defraud to exploit revenue streams for gains. Ofgem, the energy regulator, have thankfully and finally been given new powers by government to crack down on these rogues however it will take a few years to weed them out of the system altogether, if at all.
One of those potential lucrative revenue streams for them is through Start-up businesses.
|They specifically purchase lists of new business start-ups to begin their scam hoping the new business owner would have ever entered into a business energy contract before|
|They hope and prey on your lack of knowledge around commercial energy prices and the distraction of start-up pressures|
|They will then take advantage by building the maximum commission they can into the suppliers unit rates which will see you paying significantly more than you should. For example a rogue broker rates will be anything upto 4 p/kwh higher than a reputable broker. Higher even than out of contract rates|
|They will try and get you into the longest possible supply term, whether market conditions prove it to be right or wrong, for the lengthiest revenue stream|
|They perceive you to be easier to ‘double-dip’. Charge a fee and then build in commission without you knowing|
|There is less chance that they will have to offer or engage you on any other energy services or strategy that you may need as you will be concentrating getting your business up and running|
|They will not be around when you need them. As a start-up you will have more chance of this than other companies|
‘The additional unnecessary cost could be the difference between a small business succeeding or failing’.
If you think you have been a victim of this please contact EMW straight away for discussion and advice.
How to avoid these rogues:
|Never engage in conversation with an energy telesales executive or those that say they are official meter readers (they are not)|
|If you do, never say yes to anything as you could be agreeing to a verbal contract or automatic process. End the call as quickly as possible and tell them to remove you from their database|
|If any prices are offered to you, ask for a breakdown report of at least 4 or 5 suppliers (a whole suite will be better) and benchmark against another provider to ensure they are not fabricated|
|If you have to ask them what their commission is. A good broker will be transparent and will inform you in any case|
|It is not a “free service”. Chuck out those immediately that say it is|
|They don’t look beyond anything other than trying to get you into an agreement ASAP|
|They don’t know how the energy industry works|
|They use estimated consumption rather than actual when generating prices. If this consumption is false it could lead to penalties from your supplier|
|Meet you face to face|
|Request a non-exclusive letter of authority returned on company headed paper|
|Never conduct verbal sales, always signatory|
|Be open, honest and transparent with everything they do|
|Inform you on how they will deliver the services that they provide|
|Furnish you with a suite of offers from suppliers|
|Create short, medium & long term energy strategies where required|
|Provide a proposal relevant to your consumption and requirements|
|Have no issue enabling you to benchmark their price and service against another provider|
|Save you money through proactive energy procurement and invoice validation|
|Talk to you about saving you money through the implementation, measurement and monitoring of an energy reduction programme|
1. Pretending to be your incumbent supplier.
They call you pretending to be your incumbent supplier and provide you with inflated, artificial renewal prices. A number of hours later, another employee of said rogue, calls you again offering to beat the renewal price you have been given.
2. Pretending to be official meter readers.
This where they will target you claiming they are official meter readers. They are not, they are rogue energy brokers. Pursuing the call may mean you later discovering that you are tied into a very highly priced binding contract without your knowledge. These rogues will contact you soon after you have taken over new premises. They will state or imply that they are officials who need to take a meter reading as your meter is not registered and that you are not in contract with anyone. They will claim that you are paying a very high rate, perhaps stating 40% above the going rate and inform you that they are authorised to find the best deal for small businesses. You will then be switched without authorisation.
Quite unbelievable really isn’t it?