‘Big Six’ Energy Firms Face Competition Inquiry
Regulators will investigate whether the “big six” UK energy suppliers prevent effective competition in the UK energy market.
A report by regulator Ofgem has called for an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which could take 18 months.
Centrica boss Sam Laidlaw said it would cause delays to investment and “an increasing risk” of blackouts.
Ofgem’s report has criticised the effectiveness of competition.
The big six – SSE, Scottish Power, Centrica, RWE Npower, E.On and EDF Energy – account for about 95% of the UK’s energy supply market.
The Ofgem report finds “possible tacit co-ordination” on the size and timing of price rises, but does not accuse the major energy firms of colluding over prices.
The BBC’s Industry Correspondent John Moylan said the report also cited low levels of switching by consumers and the fact that the market shares of the big six suppliers had not changed significantly over time.
Richard Lloyd, executive director of the consumer group Which, said the regulator was conceding that it had not done enough to regulate the market and that the energy companies were privately admitting “they had made a mess of things.”