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UK CMA publishes final energy market reforms

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has concluded its energy market investigation, setting out a wide range of reforms to modernise the market for the benefit of customers.

Over 30 measures will be brought in after the most comprehensive investigation into the energy market since privatisation. These will drive down costs by increasing competition between suppliers and helping more customers switch to better deals, whilst protecting those less able to benefit from competition. They will also bring in technical and regulatory changes to modernise the market and ensure it works in consumers’ interests.

The CMA has published a short overview of its investigation, a summary of the report itself and a range of other materials for consumers and businesses together with its final report.

Roger Witcomb, Chairman of the energy market investigation, said:

"Competition is working well for some customers in this market – but nowhere near enough of them. Our measures will help more customers get a better deal and put in place a modernised energy market equipped for the future."

"With far too many customers paying hundreds of pounds more than they need to, they will be alerted to the better value deals that are out there and it will be easier for them to identify a good deal and switch to it. Those that can help with this process, like price comparison websites, will be given the ability to play a more active role. In other markets, they’ve played a big part in driving down prices, increasing switching and enabling suppliers of all sizes to reach customers and, freed up, they can do the same here."

"More active customers will not only save themselves money but keep suppliers on their toes, addressing many of the problems that we’ve identified. There are promising signs in this market with smaller suppliers getting more of a foothold and making it easier for customers to get involved will push things more quickly in the right direction."

"For those customers on prepayment meters, whose options to switch are far more limited, we’ll cap prices until the time that they too can benefit from competition."

"As well as helping customers switch, there are many other things that need to be done to make this market work better over the coming years and address all those elements that contribute to the final bill for customers. Modernising the market will equip it to meet future challenges and allow it to take full advantage of the forthcoming technological advances, such as smart meters, which have the potential to transform the way we use energy."

"As part of this, we’re going to strengthen the ability of Ofgem to push through change, to keep the market and suppliers under the microscope and to scrutinise government policies. With climate change and energy policies having an increasingly large effect on bills, it’s essential that decisions, particularly on support for new forms of generation, are made – and seen to be made – in the best interests of customers."

"We believe our measures alongside other future developments will mean energy customers see real improvements over the years ahead."

Click here for a summary of the report.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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