We’re sharpening Ofgem’s teeth, says new energy minister

The new Energy Minister Michael Fallon has suggested a huge fine meted out yesterday by Ofgem is part of the regulator’s toughening stance when dealing with miscreant energy suppliers. The […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The new Energy Minister Michael Fallon has suggested a huge fine meted out yesterday by Ofgem is part of the regulator’s toughening stance when dealing with miscreant energy suppliers.

The watchdog slapped SSE with a £10.5 billion fine for misselling gas and electricity to domestic customers, leading the Scottish energy provider to “apologise unreservedly”.

Previously Ofgem has been criticised for being weak but consumer groups say the fine will help restore trust in the publicly battered industry.

Michael Fallon, the MP who took over from fellow Conservative John Hayes in a surprise mini-reshuffle last Thursday declared he had “rarely seen a worse case of consumers being misled so badly”.

The minister said: “The Government is already acting through the Energy Bill to give Ofgem the teeth it needs in future to get compensation to those directly affected. And we’re using new legislation to require suppliers to simplify their tariffs and get rid of historic poor deals.”

The Energy Bill which is going through Parliament at the moment will give Ofgem new powers to take compensation from badly behaved suppliers and hand it directly to the people disadvantaged. Currently the Treasury hoovers up any cash raised by such fines.