Green scepticism of Huhne crackdown

Ecotricity founder, Dale Vince, has criticised electricity regulator Ofgem for not acting on the Big Six. His comments come in response to today’s party conference speech by Energy Secretary Chris […]

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By Tom Gibson

Ecotricity founder, Dale Vince, has criticised electricity regulator Ofgem for not acting on the Big Six. His comments come in response to today’s party conference speech by Energy Secretary Chris Huhne in which he vowed to get tougher with major suppliers.

Mr Vince said:”The big six behave badly and everybody knows it. I’m sceptical Ofgem have the courage to crack-down on the big six. Ofgem set the rules of the game and they already have the power to force the changes that we can all see are needed, but they’ve failed to do so ever since the energy industry was privatised. But credit to Chris Huhne, maybe with the political will or a boot up the backside, that will change.”

Meanwhile, Ecotricity is backing a campaign to be launched later this week by consumer watchdog Which? to simplify energy tariffs. With 320 tariffs on the market, the report claims people find energy tariffs confusing and impossible to compare with varied ways of expressing unit rates, VAT, tiered and standing charges, as well as discounts.

Mr Vince said that complexity was part of their dominance: “The energy market is hideously complicated and the big six energy suppliers have a vested interest in keeping it that way. That’s a big part of the reason why six out of ten people have never switched supplier. The interests of the big six are not aligned with the interests of the British public. Four of the big six are owned by foreign companies or governments and that fundamentally is part of the problem.”

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