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Ofgem (Energy Prices)

Volume 515: debated on Thursday 16 September 2010

18. What recent discussions he has had with Ofgem on revisions to licensing conditions for energy suppliers to improve monitoring of the links between wholesale, retail and domestic energy prices. (15513)

Ofgem does not need to change licence conditions to monitor these links: it already monitors the link between wholesale and retail prices and produces a quarterly report, which is an integral part of transparency in the sector.

Energy companies have blamed their price increases on an increase in wholesale prices. Considering that research by Which? shows that 77% of consumers are concerned about energy prices, will the Minister urge Ofgem to make a change to licence conditions to require more detailed and comparable information from energy companies to allow for effective monitoring and scrutiny, as well as fair prices?

I understand from the discussions I have had with Ofgem that it believes that it already has the right powers to do this. We must understand that one of the reasons for the pressure on prices is that, as a result of the failure to secure investment under the previous Administration, we are looking at these companies to rebuild our energy infrastructure, with £200 billion of investment over the next 10 to 15 years. There is a real energy challenge in this crisis, and we have to encourage companies to put that investment in place if we are to be able to keep the lights on in future.