Simon Read: The meter is running for energy giants

 

Gas and electricity suppliers are out of control and that's official! Well that's the conclusion I've drawn from the fact that Ofgem referred the energy industry to the Competition and Markets Authority for a full investigation on Thursday.

The regulator's recent assessment of the energy market showed – surprise, surprise – that competition isn't working as well as it should for consumers.

It revealed increasing distrust of energy suppliers, uncertainty about the relationship between the supply businesses and the generation arms of the six largest providers, and rising profits with no clear evidence of suppliers reducing their own costs or becoming better at meeting customer expectations.

In other words, we're fed up with soaring bills and more families being pushed into fuel poverty while the energy giants trouser ever-booming profits.

The investigation must be definitive. We need a full explanation of why energy costs have risen so rapidly while the Big Six energy giants have been making record profits. As the Labour MP John Robertson said: "It is time to stop fat cat energy barons raking in profits through ripping off their customers."

One solution is for the energy companies to be split up, with their supply and generation businesses separated. This would, at a stroke, allay concerns that they could be manipulating prices to their own advantage.

s.read@independent.co.uk

Twitter: @simonnread

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