(Amends federation acronym in third paragraph, widens to more
March 27 Ed Miliband, the leader of Britain's
opposition Labour party, will detail plans on Friday for a
regulator to protect small businesses from "unacceptable"
treatment by energy firms, the BBC reported, without citing
Under the plan, the new energy regulator will be able to
enforce a ban on suppliers from charging firms more expensive
tariffs without their consent, and imposing retrospective
back-billing for periods of longer than a year.
Miliband will tell the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
that firms should have the same level of protection as
consumers, and promise organisations like the FSB legal rights
to take cases to court on behalf of their members, the
broadcaster said on its website. (link.reuters.com/ryh97v)
The Labour party could not be reached for comment outside of
regular business hours.
The news comes on the heels of Britain ordering an
anti-trust probe into energy suppliers after finding signs of
tacit price coordination. The process, announced on Thursday,
could result in the break-up of some of the biggest players
including British Gas owner Centrica.
Energy prices in the country have been under intense
political scrutiny ahead of a national election next year
because of soaring utility bills.
The country's big six suppliers - SSE, Scottish
Power, Centrica, RWE npower, E.ON
and EDF Energy - control around 95 percent of Britain's
energy supply to households and businesses.
(Reporting by Richa Naidu in Bangalore; Editing by Richard