Government threatens energy pricing legislation

The Government has threatened to bring in legislation forcing energy companies to introduce fairer pricing rates for pre-payment meters. The push follows an Ofgem investigation that found the utility giants have been over charging vulnerable customers.

Climate Change and Energy Secretary Ed Miliband (pictured) made the statement to MPs yesterday (October 16), saying that unless the big six energy companies take “rapid action or explanation to remedy any abuses”, the Government would consult on legislation “to prevent unfair pricing differentials”.

He added that he planned to meet with the utility companies in one month “to see what they have done”.

Last week, energy regulator Ofgem published findings from its investigation into the gas and electricity markets that revealed many vulnerable customers were being “overcharged”.

The regulator also pointed out that “unjustified” higher charges were being paid by customers in areas not linked up to the gas mains.

In the same week, Consumer Focus, the new consumer watchdog, also called on utility companies to boost their social tariffs or risk facing Government legislation (MW October 9). The body says that EDF Energy and Scottish & Southern Energy are the only companies from the big suppliers that are offering the best tariffs possible to fuel poor consumers.

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