Energy suppliers defend need for profits

The body which represents energy companies has defended the need for profits from supplying its customers as essential for keeping the lights on. Today suppliers were criticised by MPs for […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The body which represents energy companies has defended the need for profits from supplying its customers as essential for keeping the lights on.

Today suppliers were criticised by MPs for not helping customers understand the way they work and explaining why bills are going up.

Angela Knight, chief executive of the suppliers’ trade body Energy UK defended the need for profit as “necessary for employment and investment in this country so we can build the new power stations”.

However she acknowledged there is room for improvement: “We know there is more to do and trust takes time to rebuild. We will continue to work with customers, government and the regulator as well as consumer groups to make things better.”

Ms Knight added: “We recognise there needs to be open and honest dialogue between all parties and that customers understand their bills also include the cost of the distribution system as well as the environmental and social levies.”

Regulator Ofgem agreed with MPs on the energy select committee that suppliers need to get their act together.

Ofgem’s Senior Partner for Markets Rachel Fletcher said: “We agree with the committee that suppliers have been poor at communicating with their customers… Ofgem has made energy companies produce yearly financial statements, which have been reviewed twice by independent accountants and found to be fit for purpose.”

Ofgem itself didn’t escape unscathed from MPs’ ire, with criticism for not getting its “teeth” out to force through more transparency in the industry.