Energywatch has called for the “big six” energy providers to be referred to the Competition Commission as average energy bills rise to more than £1,000 a year. The move follows a price increase on both gas and electricity by npower earlier this month.
The independent energy watchdog wants British Gas, E.On, Scottish & Southern Energy, EDF Energy, Scottish power and npower to meet with the commission as the energy providers gear up to announce record profits of £4.5bn in 2007.
Energywatch says that although first-time switchers can save up to £150 a year, “switching is not the essence of competition”.
Ofgem, the Government regulator, argues that Britain has “one of the competitive energy markets in Europe” and says it does not have any plans for a Competition Act referral.
It says: “We keep markets under constant review but we can only take action if we find evidence of anti-competitive behaviour.”
Chancellor Alistair Darling is due to meet Ofgem chief executive Sir John Mogg today (January 14) for an explanation of the price rises.