Smaller energy suppliers have jumped at the chance to bash the energy market as unfair and even “predatory”.
As Ofgem announced an inquiry into Big Six energy companies, one supplier claimed it was a “shocking indictment” of the regulator’s performance over the past 15 years.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and Founder of Ovo Energy believes an investigation into competition among energy companies wouldn’t be needed if larger suppliers “treated their customers fairly in the first place”.
Mr Fitzpatrick said: “We have heard time and time again that the market is not working in the interests of most customers and yet the regulator has done almost nothing to bring the Big Six to task. It is likely we will see a much more dramatic shakeup of the sector now and that can only be good news.
“However this is going to take time and we won’t see the benefit for at least two years. And in the meantime the Big Six are still charging the most they can get away with.”
Another small supplier also believes it has taken Ofgem too long to decide a competition inquiry is needed.
Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity said: “At privatisation there were 12 companies with 100% market share between them, today there are six companies who’ve got 98% of the market.
“The root of these problems is the way the energy market was privatised, that’s where the Big Six got their uncompetitive advantage. If the regulator had been doing its job, it wouldn’t have taken 20 years to get to grips with an obvious problem.”
Darren Braham, Founder and CFO of First Utility added the review should rebuild consumer confidence and not discourage consumers from taking control of their energy.
He said: “A long drawn out review of the market should not mean that action to remove obvious and immediate barriers to competition is delayed. It should not be a reason why an opaque wholesale market, predatory pricing policies from incumbents and action on distribution and policy costs should not be tackled now. Doing this will help consumers much more quickly than the outcome of the referral.”