Price controls may be necessary to protect consumers, says uSwitch boss

Consumer champion uSwitch’s Director of Consumer Policy has criticised the government and the regulator Ofgem for not protecting consumers from big bills and has suggested a return to price controls […]

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By Tom Gibson

Consumer champion uSwitch’s Director of Consumer Policy has criticised the government and the regulator Ofgem for not protecting consumers from big bills and has suggested a return to price controls may be needed.

Speaking at Future Energy Strategies’ ‘Increasing Competition in the UK’s Electricity Market’ event in London earlier this week, Ann Robinson said: “I don’t like regulation but Ofgem have to think about doing more. Maybe price controls need to be brought back in. A better answer would be new entrants.”

The Big Six utilities- British Gas, SSE, E.ON, EDF, Scottish Power and npower currently control 99% of the UK’s energy market.

Mrs Robinson said power companies weren’t serving customers and as a result had lost their trust. She added that new policies weren’t helping: “We have lost sight of affordability through the EMR. We need a staged approach to replacing generation.”

Responding to the Energy Secretary’s speech at the Liberal Democrat’s Party Conference, Ofgem welcomed the possibility of increased powers to protect customers.

Other uSwitch stories:

Consumer groups hail Huhne’s ‘hard hitting’ measures

EDF pull cheapest tariff as market prepares for more price rises

Big Six expected to raise prices