The competition watchdog has taken action against gas provider Daligas for failing to provide pricing information to small business customers (SMEs).
A statement by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says it has issued legal directions to the London-based company that provides energy to SMEs and domestic customers, after it breached a previous order and has now failed to address that.
The Energy Market Investigation (Microbusinesses) Order 2016 requires all energy companies supplying microbusinesses to provide an online tool allowing them to access accurate energy quotes to compare with other firms, and potentially switch to a better deal.
It said more than 20 firms offering energy to SMEs are already complying with the order, issued as part of the CMA’s investigation into the energy market. Daligas, it added, had failed to respond to several reminders to meet this requirement.
By not providing this information, the company is also in breach of one of Ofgem’s licensing conditions.
Andrea Gomes da Silva, Executive Director of Markets and Mergers at the CMA said: “Small businesses are vitally important to the UK economy. As a result of the CMA’s investigation into the energy sector, these companies have a right to be given accurate pricing information so they can compare their energy deal with other suppliers and potentially switch to a better offer.
“By not allowing companies to access this information in a timely way, Daligas is breaching its legal obligations, which is why we have issued these formal directions.”
The company must now comply within a next month, or face being taken to court. The watchdog also reminded other companies that it “can and will take action if they fail to comply with CMA orders”.
Anthony Pygram, director of conduct and enforcement at Ofgem, said: “Providing an online tool to create a quote for small business customers ensures they have the correct information they need to be able to compare suppliers and choose the right one for them.
“We have written to Daligas to remind them of their licence obligations and our expectation that they will comply with the CMA’s directions.
“When a supplier does not comply with their licence obligations, Ofgem has the powers by statute to impose financial penalties and for suppliers to accept commitments or undertakings relating to future conduct or arrangements.”
Daligas was contacted by Utility Week, however had not responded before our going to press.
Its website says its business model allows “a lean corporate structure, low operating costs, innovative purchasing strategy, advanced information systems, strong management and a reliable team, to operate cost-effectively, with a flexibility to immediately respond to market needs and changes”.
- According to the Which website, Daligas is a gas-only energy supplier, launched in April 2013 with a single tariff. Through its Budget Billing Plan for gas it aims to calculate the total annual gas usage of a household and split it into 12 equal monthly payments. This is in contrast to customers paying for what they use each month, meaning lower bills in summer but higher ones in winter.
Customers are said to only be able to pay by monthly direct debit but, with no contract, can leave at any time.