Gas and electricity Updated:
The Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) has unveiled a package of new rules for energy suppliers which will ban "unjustified" prices. The proposal comes following a year-long investigation into the conditions of the UK's energy markets. It has raised concerns over the difference in costs for those paying in different ways, such as pre-payment meters. As such, the regulator is recommending the banning of unjustified price differences to close off any recurrence of poor deals for customers and a set of remedies to address retail market issues. Specifically, the new rules will oblige suppliers to provide standard annual statements, simplified information on tariffs to make comparison easier, written quotations on doorstep sales and small businesses to be given clear and transparent contracts with no automatic roll-on. "This is an emphatic move by Ofgem to clear the deck of obstacles that prevent consumers getting access to the best offers," said chief executive, Alistair Buchanan. "All consumers will be given greater power in the market and small businesses in particular will have a stronger hand to play in the market." Ofgem will speak to the major energy operators about the proposed changes with the aim of introducing them by the autumn. It has said, however, that it may take the matter to the Competition Commission if an agreement cannot be reached.
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