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Energy: Prices

Volume 508: debated on Monday 29 March 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what powers his Department has to protect consumers from unfair competition and profiteering in respect of (a) retail motor fuel prices, (b) retail home heating oil and (c) the price of oil used by commerce and industry; and if he will make a statement. (324281)

The Competition Act 1998 and the Enterprise Act 2002 contain a range of powers to protect consumers from unfair competition in the UK economy including the markets for petrol retailing, home heating oil and oil used by Industry.

As the UK’s independent competition authority, the Office of Fair Trading has been given significant powers to investigate and enforce competition law.

These powers allow OFT to investigate agreements and practices that are designed to prevent, restrict or distort competition or abuses of market dominance.

They also allow the OFT to investigate markets where they are not working to the benefit of consumers. Sectoral regulators also have concurrent powers to investigate and enforce competition law in their relevant sectors.

The OFT will take seriously any complaints or any other information it receives about these markets and will use its powers to investigate where appropriate.