Utilities to set up new trade body

Utility companies Powergen and npower are planning to set up a new trade body to represent their interests, in a move that will be seen as a snub to the existing Electricity Association.

The EA was set up before the deregulation of the energy sector to handle issues such as mis-selling – the bane of the industry since deregulation began more than eight years ago. Industry watchdog Energywatch handles 3,500 complaints a month about consumer problems when changing suppliers.

According to insiders, the EA has failed to meet the needs of the industry or to act to resolve any pending issues.

One energy retailer says: “The EA is winding down and does not serve the purpose of energy retailers, which now sell both gas and electricity. The new organisation, the Energy Retail Association, will be unveiled in October.”

A spokeswoman for the EA, however, refuses to confirm or deny whether the organisation is “winding down”. She says: “We have not come to any conclusions. The EA board has decided to restructure the group into three autonomous trade bodies responsible for supply, networks and generation. The new structure will be in place in September.”

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