Anyone found guilty of rigging wholesale gas and electricity prices could face up to two years in jail under new proposals unveiled today.
The Government wants to introduce new sanctions to protect consumers from any unfair practices and give regulators new powers to prosecute people suspected of abusing the energy market.
Under the proposals, it would be a criminal offence to fix energy prices or use “insider information” to buy or sell energy on the wholesale market. It would also be an offence to make misleading claims or hide facts about wholesale energy prices.
Currently, UK energy regulators can only investigate and fine people found breaching the rules.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “Manipulating the energy market is absolutely unacceptable and these proposals provide a much stronger deterrent – more in line with the approach taken in the financial markets.”
Earliert this year the energy market was referred to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for a full competition investigation.