New information released by the UK’s Energy Advice Line shows a growing number of utility cold-calling scams, designed to pressure businesses into switching suppliers.

The service reports that some firms have received up to 30 high-pressure sales calls a day, with those who have just moved premises the worst effected.

Many businesses have complained of being contacted by callers fraudulently posing as meter ‘officials’ in order to elicit information to take over their energy supplies, while others have been plagued by sales calls to the point where they are forced stop answering their phones. The Advice Line states that in one particular case, a business owner was phoned repeatedly during a funeral despite telling the company to stop.

The Energy Advice Line has now launched a Say No To Cold Calling on Business Energy campaign, designed to lobby energy regulator Ofgem to ban the practice.

Julian Morgan, the Energy Advice Line’s Managing director, said: “You wouldn’t believe the stories we have heard abut the lengths these callers will go to in order to get customers to sign up to energy contracts.

“These agents somehow obtain information about businesses that are taking on new leases, and then bombard them with sales calls.

“In many cases they pose as meter officials – although no such officials exist – so that business owners reveal meter information. Before they know it, they’ve been hoodwinked into expensive energy contracts.

“We intend to present our evidence to Ofgem and urge the regulator to ban the practice in order to protect businesses from this kind of highly-suspect, high-pressure sales activity,” he concluded.

The Energy Advice Line has also put together an advice list to help prevent these businesses from being coerced into switching to a potentially expensive supplier. Among the tips listed the service suggests verifying the identity of the personal calling and ignoring high-pressure sales calls from companies that ring out of the blue.

Businesses who are interested in switching supplier are urged to speak to a comparison service that has a large panel of suppliers – not one that is only working for one company. The Energy Advice Line also suggests checking that the tariffs offered are also available on the company’s website.