Bosses agree to take part in 'public grilling'

Bosses of under-fire energy firms British Gas and E.ON have agreed to face questioning from consumer groups, regulators, charities and journalists at a summit organised by The Independent, i's sister paper, and Policy Review Intelligence.

Next month's debate on a fair energy deal for consumers will be led by the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, while representatives from Which?, Age UK and Save the Children will line up with the chief of the energy watchdog Ofgem and senior officials from Co-operative Energy and the IPPR think-tank.

Centrica, which owns British Gas, yesterday distanced itself from the growing gas price-fixing scandal by claiming that its traders are not allowed to discuss prices with the reporting agencies at the centre of the wholesale market.

It was one of the agencies that sparked the latest price-fixing scandal. It was revealed this week that a former trader at ICIS Heren has told the Financial Services Authority that there have been several attempts by the energy companies to distort prices.

In response to the claims, Centrica yesterday said: "Centrica has very robust governance and compliance policies, which regulate its market participation and behaviour."