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UK: Energy firms could face price cap

 |  July 7, 2015

Britain’s largest energy suppliers could face a price cap after a competition watchdog found they overcharged households by around 1.2 billion pounds each year between 2009 and 2013.

Britons have seen energy bills double in the last decade to 1,200 pounds a year, leadingto allegations that utilities were cheating them and political pressure to curb increases. The utilities have denied ripping off customers.

The inquiry by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) was launched a year ago to clear up once and for all whether the six largest suppliers were abusing their 90 percent control of the market.

Britain’s biggest supplier, Centrica’s British Gas, even faced the threat of being broken up after a former energy minister raised the idea in a letter to the energy regulator.

The CMA has now firmly ruled out such a radical step, saying in its initial findings that suppliers were acting within the law and not making excessive profits. Consumers who failed to switch energy provider were however paying too much, it added.

“We are proposing a transitional price cap which would actually protect those who are disengaged and indeed those who are most disadvantaged,” Roger Witcomb, non-executive director of the CMA, told BBC radio.

Full content: The Financial Times

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