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Energy Market Competition

Volume 560: debated on Thursday 14 March 2013

Like my hon. Friend, we want more competition. One of the biggest barriers to entry and to greater competition is low liquidity in the wholesale power market. Ofgem is currently taking forward reforms to address that issue, and we are supportive of its progress, but the Government are also seeking backstop powers in the Energy Bill to allow us to act, should Ofgem and industry actions prove insufficient.

I thank the Minister for that response. The billing stakeholder group produced a number of recommendations to increase competition, including putting more tailored information on the face of quarterly bills. Those recommendations were taken up by Ofgem and they chime with what the Prime Minister has said, but we know that the energy companies oppose them. Will the Minister give us an assurance that the energy companies will not be allowed to row back on those recommendations?

Yes, I can. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for ensuring that these proposals, which will make a transformational difference to consumer bills, end up being enacted, and for the work of his stakeholder group. I can tell him that the proposals will be part of the licence conditions, and that if energy companies fail to deliver on them, they could be fined up to 10% of turnover. We are of course taking powers in the Energy Bill as well.