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December 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Business price comparison site
PowerExperts.co.uk has warned at least 86% of small to medium UK businesses are being charged on average 30% more than they should be on their energy bills.
Research carried out this year (2012) on behalf of statutory consumer body Consumer Focus shows 48% of polled businesses simply let their energy provider increase their rates by an average 30% without even questioning if they were receiving the most competitive deal on the market.
This common practice by all major UK energy companies is known as "rollover contracts". The higher rates offered will automatically renew for another 12 months if you don't do anything.
While almost half of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) failed to act at all, even more shockingly, 38% directly accepted the higher rollover rates offered - potentially leaving themselves hundreds of pounds out of pocket each year.
Only 14% of businesses declined rollover rates.
James York, a spokesperson for PowerExperts.co.uk, described the figures as "concerning", and urged all UK SMEs to refuse rollover rates and search for a competitive deal.
He said, "Businesses should never accept rollover rates without first investigating what else is available to them.
"The fact that almost half of businesses are failing to act and ending up on more expensive rates is concerning enough, but when you consider that nearly 40% are actively accepting these rates, it's even more troubling - especially when businesses need to conserve as much cash as possible in this economic climate.
"That's a huge percentage of SMEs who are paying far too much for their energy, simply by not shopping around."
Mr York added that while a huge number of businesses have found themselves marooned on rollover rates, the actual number of businesses paying too much for their energy could be even higher.