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Ofgem urged to act on lowering customer bills

Trade union UNISON has urged Ofgem to respond decisively to the surging energy prices and record profits in the sector

The UK’s largest trade union, UNISON, has called upon Ofgem to take decisive action in response to escalating energy prices and soaring profits within the energy sector.

The union’s demands include a reduction in energy bills for consumers and a commitment to a just transition for energy workers.

In addition to advocating for reduced consumer costs, UNISON is also pushing for collaborative efforts among all energy companies in the UK to facilitate substantial investments across the sector.

UNISON National Secretary for Energy Donna Rowe-Merriman said: “In the cost of living crisis, there is an urgent need for Ofgem to intervene to ensure that consumers are not drowning in debt.”

Ms Rowe-Merriman noted: “As the energy sector continues to evolve, the union’s call for regulatory intervention and collaboration among energy companies marks a significant step towards a fairer and more sustainable future.

“By prioritising the fair pricing for consumers and a fair outcome for energy workers, the UK can pave the way for a just transition that benefits all.”

An Ofgem spokesperson told Energy Live News: “While prices are slowly falling many, many households are still struggling with their bills and having to make tough choices every day.

“We are working closely working with the government on a range of options to support consumers, particularly the most vulnerable, and with industry to make sure they are proactively supporting their customers.

“Energy suppliers must always remember their responsibility to their customers and we have been clear suppliers must not pay dividends until they are financially robust enough to weather future shocks. We’re closely monitoring levels of customer service, support and financial adequacy – and can, and will, act where suppliers are found lacking.

“In a regulated market we set allowances in the cap at a modest level of profit – around 2p in the pound. In recent years suppliers have typically made less than this. But allowing suppliers to generate this reasonable return is vital to ensure a stable and well functioning energy sector for consumers that can cope with a volatile market and generate investment for innovation and the move to net zero.

“In 2023, we allowed companies to recover some of the losses they incurred during the energy crisis. This one-off adjustment is reflected in the first half of the year and will therefore show in the profits for the whole year and this is why most suppliers are showing higher than usual profits for this period.

“For the second half of the year, profits have returned to more normal levels allowed for under the price cap. And we would expect them to remain at such levels moving forward.”

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