ROBIN Millar, MP for Aberconwy, has launched a campaign to secure “Common Sense Energy” contracts for businesses.

Following concerns raised with him by businesses in the hospitality sector, Mr Millar raised energy supply contracts for businesses in Parliament last month during treasury questions.

He asked whether energy suppliers had their “thumb on their side of the scales”.


Tributes to much-loved late Rhos-on-Sea fish and chip shop owner

PICTURES: Deganwy Prom Day a great success in the sunshine!

Barnardo’s charity shop in Colwyn Bay set for imminent closure

In a move that was widely welcomed by UK wide hospitality trade bodies, he secured a commitment from Gareth Davies MP, the treasury minister, to meet with him and other concerned MPs as soon as Ofgem’s enquiry into non-residential energy contracts is completed.

A business energy survey has now launched, which MPs will use to collect data from businesses in their constituencies, to highlight the need for intervention in the business energy market.

Mr Millar said: “When I spoke with hotels, pubs and other businesses in my own constituency it was clear they were describing really difficult challenges.

“Not only were energy prices soaring, but quotes from providers were being withdrawn or just not offered.

“They also spoke of being punished with punitive increases in variable rates if they didn’t sign up for fixed term deals.

“This is unacceptable – anti-competitive and the characteristics of a dysfunctional market.

“Coupled with soaring energy bills, this is the last thing businesses need and a very real problem for them, that is hitting their bottom line right now.”

NEWSLETTER: Get the latest stories from the Colwyn Bay, Conwy and Llandudno area sent straight to your inbox by signing up here.

UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “Hospitality is very much the canary in the coal mine when it comes to the behaviour of energy suppliers.

“We have seen suppliers pursuing unfair tactics with no good reason, such as demanding significant security deposits, hiking up standing charges or, in some cases, simply refusing to supply hospitality businesses.

“This refusal to offer contracts to hospitality businesses was highlighted by Ofgem as a particular cause for concern.

“I’m grateful to Robin for organising the meeting this morning and the MPs for attending and discussing action on this issue.

“Half of hospitality businesses were forced to take out an energy contract at the peak of the market and, for those businesses, the vast majority cite that as the single biggest factor in whether they are able to survive the next six months.

“It’s essential that more is done to help struggling hospitality businesses with their bills, particularly for those stuck in contracts negotiated when wholesale energy prices were at their highest.

“There’s also a need to urgently address the use of energy brokers, which are largely unregulated, and often contribute to higher energy costs.”

Mr Millar added: “Hospitality and tourism are crucial to the local economy of my constituency of Aberconwy but high energy costs are hurting small and medium sized businesses in many other sectors and throughout the UK.

“These costs are set by contracts with energy suppliers.

“I urge as many business owners and managers as possible to complete our business energy survey.

“Together with data from MPs across the UK, we will take the findings directly to treasury ministers for them to consider alongside the Ofgem report.

“We need to bring common sense and fairness to the business energy supply market.”