Shapps demands action against power firms over market manipulation claims

UK Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps has called on regulator Ofgem to investigate claims of electricity market manipulation by power trading firms

Big Zero Report 2022

The UK’s Energy Security Secretary, Grant Shapps, has urged regulator Ofgem to investigate allegations of power trading firms manipulating the country’s electricity markets for their own benefit.

This follows an investigation by Bloomberg which claimed that energy companies were generating millions of pounds in profit through higher balancing payments that were ultimately paid by consumers.

Shapps warned that if these companies are not held accountable, taxpayers will bear the brunt of their actions.

In a statement, the Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary said: “This Bloomberg investigation clearly shows Ofgem needs to properly look into this and identify if this is market manipulation or based on genuine need.

“But I want to see them going further and faster, or it will be the taxpayer paying the price for their failure to hold these companies to account.”

An Ofgem spokesperson told ELN: “Our first job is protect consumers – and all attempts by energy companies to exacerbate tight market conditions, whether intentional or not, are in not their interests.

“We are taking action to introduce a new obligation into electricity generation licences. This will prohibit generators from affecting the balancing mechanism in this way for excessive financial gain.

“We expect to make a final decision on implementing this new obligation for generators this summer, however it’s crucial that we take the time to ensure our regulatory interventions are well-considered and that they will be effective in curbing this practice.

“We ran a sector wide call for input into this new set of rules late last year. National Grid has already noted improvements by a number of participants, as well as reducing year-on-year costs associated with this kind of behaviour regarding the balancing mechanism – all of which suggests our strong message is having a positive effect.”

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