MPs call for clarity in energy market and more action from Ofgem
Monday 29 July 2013
Trust in the energy market is being undermined by a lack of transparency about how companies make their profits, MPs have warned.
Members of the energy and climate change committee have also criticised the regulator, Ofgem, for not “using its teeth more” to restore consumer confidence.
The MPs make a series of recommendations in a new report, including making bills easier to understand and for tariffs to be compared with those of other companies.
There are “serious shortfalls” in customer communication, particularly on why prices have risen, resulting in “deep mistrust” from consumers, although there have been improvements, the report says. It adds that the small proportion of users who switch suppliers suggests the market is not as competitive as it could be.
Sir Robert Smith, a Lib Dem member of the committee, said: “As many people are struggling with the rising costs of energy, consumers need reassurance that the profits being made by the Big Six are not excessive.
“Ofgem should shine a brighter light on the internal structure of these big companies.”
Ofgem’s senior partner for markets, Rachel Fletcher, said; “Restoring consumers’ trust underpins reforms which seek to get companies to deal with consumers in a simple, clear and fair way. And we agree suppliers have been poor at communicating with customers. That is why Ofgem has taken the lead in pursuing transparency.”
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