Energy secretary to get tough on big six

Covered mag, presented by
  • | by Kristian Dando

Energy secretary Chris Huhne has promised to make it easier for consumers to switch energy providers.

Speaking to the Liberal Democrat faithful at the party’s annual conference in Birmingham, he outlined plans to help save money by making it easier for people to find out about cheaper energy deals, and to jump ship to other providers.

He also suggested that energy watchdog Ofgem would get more powers to force companies to hand back money to customers for “bad behaviour”, like breaching license commitments.

Huhne said: "It's not fair that big energy companies can push their prices up for the vast majority of their consumers, who do not switch, while introducing cut-throat offers for new customers that stop small firms entering the market. That looks to me like predatory pricing. It must and will stop."

An Ofgem spokesperson said: “We are delighted with the secretary of state’s commitment to new consumer redress powers for Ofgem. This is consistent with the findings of our retail market review in March which made clear that we would seek new powers where they were needed to better protect consumers. We also welcome the thrust of the announcements today from the secretary of state which, together with Ofgem’s proposals to simplify energy tariffs, will give more power to consumers.”