Energy Secretary to get tough on energy giants

Posted on 20 Sep 2011 by The Manufacturer

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has pledged to make it easier for smaller energy providers to enter the market by cracking the dominance of the bigger energy companies.

Mr Huhne expressed the Coalition’s wish to help people find “simpler tariffs” and “cheaper deals” on their energy supplies by making it obligatory for firms “to tell you whether you could buy more cheaply on another tariff”.

The ‘Big Six’ energy companies: npower, Scottish Power, British Gas, Scottish and Southern, E.On and EDF are all under attack by Mr Huhne, who wants to make room for the smaller companies in the energy market.

Businesses will be better placed to get the best deals on energy prices, meaning they can potentially make massive savings; particularly energy intensive users such as those producing steel and iron on a large scale.

John Cridland, CBI director-general, said: “Competitive energy markets benefit businesses and consumers. Energy customers should be helped to get the best deal and we support easier switching of accounts. At a time when world energy prices are rising, energy companies are promoting energy efficiency, and introducing smart meters and low-cost insulation to help consumers reduce bills.”

He added that: “We must remember that prices also reflect the critical need for energy investment for a low-carbon future, where there are opportunities for new entrants to the market. But we need ministers to be crystal clear on energy policy if vital business investment is to be secured.”

The Coalition was also criticised for cutting the feed-in-tariff support scheme which pays businesses and homes that generate their own green energy if they contribute some of it to the Grid.

George Archer