Let's help not hinder small suppliers

At CNG, we have fuelled a lot of our energy in to trying to make the energy industry a fairer and more positive place. We want energy users to feel empowered, as well as having both choice and access to the best deals and service to meet their needs. This means us doing our bit, not only by going above and beyond for our customers, but providing ongoing support and guidance to new or smaller suppliers in the market as well.

There have been a lot of stories in the news recently about smaller suppliers, how they should be doing business and where they may be falling short. Citizens Advice evaluated the customer service of UK domestic energy suppliers, and found that a number of small suppliers came bottom of the rankings. As well as this, industry experts have claimed that smaller suppliers will need ‘a robust plan’, if they wish to survive the winter, as wholesale prices and pricing strategies are seen as potential problems. With the trend for ‘tease and squeeze’ pricing currently in the market, many smaller suppliers are unable to compete and subsidise loss-leading prices.

In response to this, there have been calls for stricter regulations to be put in place which limit who can become a supplier and what requirements they must meet to do so. At CNG we believe it is really important to give end users choice, and make the energy industry more robust, functional and fair.

There may well be a need to review existing regulations, but there should also be a focus on education and support for smaller suppliers as it seems unfair to simply tell them they are doing business in the wrong way, without first trying to give those that may be struggling guidance on how they can do a better job. This in turn will help them to make their business more viable and financially secure, benefiting energy users and the industry as a whole.

CNG believe that competition is key to a fairer industry and therefore we go to great lengths to help new suppliers entering into the market. This might be anything from helping them to sign up and be accepted as a supplier, through to meeting asset managers and network representatives. We also share our expertise in building a sustainable business model, establishing pricing plans and demand forecasting so that they know exactly what they need to do as a supplier.

We know it’s not always easy to get things right the first time, especially for those who are just starting out in the industry, but the fact is that the energy industry needs new suppliers to enter the market in order to maintain competition, choice and high standards. Therefore existing suppliers and industry bodies such as Ofgem should be encouraging smaller suppliers by giving guidance on how they can make their business more secure and functional.

We must also remember though, there are many small suppliers operating within the market that are performing well, providing a consistent and industry-leading service for energy users.

In the end, however, it’s not only small suppliers that need to ensure that they’re meeting certain requirements. Every supplier needs to provide a fair, reliable and high-quality service across the board, regardless of their size so that the industry as a whole works in the best interests of energy users.