Energy Watchdog under fire from politicians and consumers for limp proposals to increase competition amongst Big Six firms


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The Independent Online

The Energy Watchdog was forced to defend itself today after its proposals to increase competition were slated by politicians and consumer groups.

Ofgem announced new rules from 31 March that will force the Big Six energy firms to give more details of how they trade electricity between their generator businesses and household supply arms.

They will also be required to publish wholesale prices in advance to make it easier for smaller suppliers to compete.

But Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “These measures only scratch the surface of the changes needed to bring competition to the market and to make it work for consumers.”

Meanwhile Labour's Energy Secretary Caroline Flint said: “Ofgem is tinkering around the edges with a whole host of complicated interventions which will be difficult to properly monitor and enforce.”

Labour has urged the introduction of rules to stop energy companies doing secret trades between the generation and retail parts of their businesses.

The Watchdog responded robustly to the charges. “For the Labour Party and Which? to dismiss Ofgem’s fundamental reforms is to misunderstand the barriers to competition that we have identified and  are tackling,” It said, claiming: “Ofgem’s reforms go further than Labour’s proposals.”