Open up your accounts, Ofgem tells suppliers

Ofgem wants energy suppliers to make their accounts more transparent, it said yesterday. The watchdog’s latest report recommends that energy firms should simplify how they publish their financial information. The […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Ofgem wants energy suppliers to make their accounts more transparent, it said yesterday. The watchdog’s latest report recommends that energy firms should simplify how they publish their financial information.

The call comes as energy suppliers face increasing pressure from the public and consumer bodies to show they are not “profiteering” from unreasonably high bills. Several of the Big Six suppliers’ chief executives have spoken about the need to win back customer trust.

Ofgem suggests companies should make it easier to compare their information by standardising how they account for generation fuel costs. It also wants companies to use the same accounting standards when producing their profit measures.

Although the findings do give energy suppliers a clean slate over their financial information, this needs to be a springboard for action, according to Ofgem’s chief executive Alistair Buchanan.

He said: “The fact that independent accountants BDO have found suppliers’ financial information to be fair and appropriate should also give consumers a degree of reassurance. Suppliers now need to build on this report and make the radical changes needed to restore consumer trust in energy suppliers.

“The real win for consumers will be when suppliers provide consumers with simple tariffs and clearer bills and annual statements as proposed by Ofgem.”