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Energy: Prices

Volume 482: debated on Tuesday 11 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will take steps to regulate the price cost ratios operated by fuel and energy suppliers. (232571)

Where possible, effective competition rather than price regulation is the preferred way to ensure a fair deal for consumers.

The preliminary findings of Ofgem’s recent investigation into the gas and electricity supply markets concluded that these markets are competitive, although it did identify some groups of consumers that are not receiving the full benefits of competition. Ofgem is currently consulting on actions needed to ensure that all UK consumers benefit fully from competitive energy markets.

The Office of Fair Trading monitors fuel markets and its previous investigations into the supply of petrol and diesel have concluded that these markets are competitive. Indeed, current competition among supermarkets has contributed to a fall in the average price of unleaded by more than 8p/l in just two weeks. Where the OFT has identified issues that could restrict competition, such as in the market for bulk domestic liquefied petroleum gas, it has sought to remove them.