Supporting small businesses with energy debt
Authors: Sharon Collard and Sara Davies
Funded by: Money Advice Trust
Published by: Money Advise Trust
Publication date: January 2018
This research explores the impact of energy debt on small businesses. The qualitative research, based on interviews with small business owners who engaged with Business Debtline, explores their experiences of falling behind on bills, dealing with energy suppliers and seeking debt advice.
While primarily focused on energy debt, the report also provides insight into people’s experiences of setting up and running a small business and how they deal with business finances. The findings show that more support is needed for small business owners, and that energy suppliers need to consider the ‘person behind the business’.
The research also shows mixed experiences when interviewees engaged with suppliers and took advice. Some reported being unable to reach an arrangement when negotiating with their provider, stating that their supplier was unhelpful or uncommunicative. However, many suppliers were shown to signpost customers to debt advice through Business Debtline and, crucially, provided ‘breathing space’ from debts to allow the business time to start addressing their debt.