Here is our advice for dealing with an energy scam on your business, and we look at the latest scams doing the rounds.
If you think you have been pressured into, or mis-sold a business energy contract, call us on 020 3372 6517.
Examples of business energy scams
These are by no means exhaustive. If you are called about your energy supply and think it might be an energy scam, just put the phone down. Don’t agree to anything. Unfortunately, Ofgem still allow verbal contracts in the energy industry. This just encourages scammers. At Perfect Clarity we only agree contracts by email or post, giving you time to review the detail before signing. If you are unsure whether a call you have received is an energy scam, do not give them any information, and then check with us.
Read more advice about the mis-selling of business energy contracts and whether you can cancel your contract.
Scams when you move: 2 costly mistakes when moving business premises
We are calling from your energy supplier scam
The caller will explain that they are from your energy supplier. They will no doubt sound very confident, but pushy as well. They explain your gas or electricity contracts are ending soon and will try and persuade you to agree a new contract over the phone.
It is very rare for your energy supplier to actually call you. Therefore these calls are more than likely to be from a rogue ‘broker’ who is trying to get contract details from you. They will use this to agree a very high contract without your knowledge and certainly not in your best interests. Or they could be simply fishing for contract and meter details so they can sell your information to other parties. Cue a deluge of cold calls that you won’t be able to stop.
Ask them to put anything in writing to you, by post. If they are legitimate they will be more than happy to do so.
The DCP161 scam
You receive a call about DCP161. This is a new measure from Ofgem that will came into effect in April 2018, so it actually exists. However, fraudsters are using it to panic businesses into giving them their meter information.
DCP161 is only relevant to Half Hourly electricity meters. It introduces excess capacity charges for these meters. If you have a Half Hourly meter, your energy supplier will write to you about it. You may need to apply for an increase in capacity. You should discuss the options with them, or your broker. Certainly not with a random caller. Ensure you do not give any information to them, including any details on your electricity invoice.
Your business energy contract is about to end scam
The caller will tell you that your energy contract is about to end and you need to agree a new contract urgently. Or your business energy contract has already ended and you are being penalised, so you must sign up to a new contract today.
Absolutely do not agree anything over the phone. Don’t even give the caller any information about yourself or your energy meter, such as the serial number. This is a common energy scam. They will use any information they can glean from you to cobble together a verbal contract. Verbal contracts are still permitted in the UK energy industry. We refuse to use them incidentally, as they only encourage these unscrupulous calls. If verbal contracts were illegal, most of these calls would stop overnight.
Ask them to put any information in a letter and put the phone down. If they are a legitimate company, or indeed your energy supplier, they will be happy to do this.
And if you are a Perfect Clarity customer, you can safely assume your energy contract is not about to end. We will be in touch with you around 6 months before your contract comes to an end.
Your gas or electricity hasn’t changed supplier properly energy scam
More recently, there have been calls telling businesses that their gas or electricity hasn’t changed supplier correctly, and you will be cut off. Or even that your meter is faulty and must be replaced.
Another energy scam. If an energy adviser like ourselves have been handling your business move, they will be aware of any issues surrounding the energy contracts. Therefore, your energy adviser will have been in touch by now.
Or have you been dealing directly with the energy companies to arrange the energy supply at your new premises? In which case a quick call to them will put your mind at rest. Again, they will contact you directly, usually in writing, if there are any issues.
Frequent calls when you move premises scam
You receive 20-30 phone calls a day when you move into new business premises. These calls are often back to back, offering you the ‘best electricity price’, and are designed to pressure you into agreeing an energy contract over the phone. They may tell you that you need to agree a contract or you will have your electricity supply cut off.
For a start, you probably don’t want to do business with a company like this anyway. Secondly, if they are not letting you even think about it, then the offer is unlikely to be in your best interests. So this is also an energy scam.
Again, do not give any personal or business information to the caller. They can call this a verbal contract and use it to lock you into an energy contract against your wishes.
When you move premises, the incumbent supplier will continue to supply your gas or electricity. You are ‘out of contract’ and free to sign a contract with this supplier, or any other supplier. You will be charged deemed rates (higher than contracted rates) until you agree a contract, but you certainly won’t be cut off.
We have more guidance on energy contracts when moving premises.
How to deal with calls you think might be an energy scam
- Do not agree to anything over the phone, no matter how pushy they are
- Do not give the caller any information about yourself, business, or gas/electricity meter details
- Ask them to send any information to you by post
- Put the phone down and check the number they called you from, is it the company they said they were calling from?
- Forward any information to your energy adviser that you are unsure about
- Call us on 020 3372 6517 for assistance and advice.