There is some way to go before energy suppliers regain the trust of their small business customers, new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found.

In the first study of its kind since the 'big six' energy suppliers pledged more support for small businesses by ending rollover contracts, the FSB has conducted an exclusive survey of over 1,400 of its members to get a clearer picture of the energy market for small businesses.

As a result, the FSB has called for energy companies to take action and publish easily comparable prices for small business customers, commit to not reintroducing rollover contracts and ensure customers who want to switch can do so easily.

The survey results show:

  • Almost all (81%) of FSB members said energy suppliers don't care about their needs;
  • Four in five (81%) firms agree that published tariffs would have a positive impact on their business, with the main benefits being more competitive pricing and easier switching of accounts;
  • Two thirds (65%) of small businesses surveyed think it is difficult to switch energy supplier. Amongst those who attempted to switch the biggest problems cited were unclear notice periods, complicated contract terms and the speed of the switching process;
  • Only a quarter (27%) of small firms believe there is enough competition in the energy market.

The FSB will present this research in its response to the Ofgem consultation tomorrow (23 May) on whether the energy market should be referred to the Competitions and Market Authority.

John Allan, national chairman, FSB, said:

"It's clear from our research that many small businesses don't trust the big energy suppliers to deliver a smarter, fairer and more transparent billing process as four in five of our members say that energy companies don't care about them.

"This week we will tell Ofgem and the Competition and Markets Authority that small businesses won't get a fair deal until all energy companies publish easily comparable fixed prices, have much clearer terms and conditions and operate in a more competitive and fair market."