A business group has called on energy regulator Ofgem to speed up an investigation about power cuts.

The inquiry may not happen until 2015, but the business lobby group Business Voice WM wants the Government to order immediate action.

The move follows a lengthy campaign in which BVWM has maintained that the frequency and duration of power cuts across the region is hampering industry.

Ofgem insists the problem is in fact getting better where lapses of three minutes or more are involved.

It does not monitor those of less than three minutes but recently promised it would make a start in the current five-year period. “We will be launching a programme of work related to short interruptions to seek better recording and reporting and also to understand customers’ experiences and attitudes to short versus long interruptions,” it said.

But BVWM wants action now.

Federation of Small Businesses regional policy unit chairman and BVWM board member David Caro cautioned: “They have said they will look at this – but it could happen at any time up to 2015.

“As a consequence, BVWM has written to the Energy Minister Charles Hendry asking for this investigation to take place as soon as possible.”

“The problems short interruptions are causing are an added cost burden on manufacturers, particularly those involved in the high tech engineering sector where any supply disruption can cause major IT issues.

“It is a very difficult time for businesses in the current economic cycle when all are trying to work as efficiently as possible.”

Ofgem maintains that since introducing a system of targets, fines and rewards in 2005 the overall performance of operators has “improved”.

In 2009/10 Ofgem fined Central Networks West (CNW) £2.384 million for failing to hit its targets.

CNW was involved in a total of 12,000 incidents. It could face fines of £7.4 million this time around.