The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is to launch a hotly-anticipated probe into the UK energy market with particular interest in highlighting the opacity of wholesale electricity. With a great deal of attention on the top energy companies and concerns from customers regarding rising prices, quality of service and scope for investment opportunities, the probe is set to be a welcome one.
The CMA’s current investigation continues a probe started by regulators last year after concerns about transparency and service were spoken about by both customers and the media. Some of the key areas that are to be investigated include:
How easy is it for customers to switch suppliers? With many people unhappy with rising bills and poor customer service, they are well within their rights to change suppliers. However, a number of larger companies make it increasingly difficult for customers to do so.
Should energy companies be generating as well as selling? The CMA will look into whether the trading of low level wholesale power leads to inefficiencies for customers.
Do the rising bills reflect the company’s needs or are there hidden profits? With the argument rife in the media over the past months, more clarity regarding how energy companies make their money is needed, as well as continuing attention to the mis-selling of policies.
The investigation will not be focussed on gas wholesale and energy distribution markets but rather electricity, a probe which many suppliers have been expecting in the wake of damaging reviews both from current and previous customers as well as much attention within the media. Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour party, has claimed that energy companies have been ‘overcharging’ customers for years and he, as well as the general public, will welcome a deeper look into the way these companies conduct their business. Abd ar rahman iii .