Dodgy dealings alleged in gas market by whistleblower
OMG! Has there been some price ‘manipulation’ in the wholesale gas market? Say it ain’t so! Too late! Someone has said that it is so and there’ll be a full investigation into what we’re certain is all some kind of silly little mistake. Someone pressing one zero too many on a calculator or something.
Yes, that’s the allegation that is about to be investigated by regulators the FSA and Ofgem after some allegations from a shadowy whistleblower within the industry. Four of the UK’s ‘big six’ energy suppliers have already put their heads above the parapet and said ‘nothing to do with us!’ but we expect that the investigation may go a little deeper than just accepting their word at face value.
But, the good news is that there is no evidence that any shady wrongdoing has directly affected the retail price paid by us, the freezing cold, mug consumers. Instead, the allegations focus on the way trading is done between the companies involved, in a manner which is said to be open to manipulation.
David Hunter, an analyst at M&C Energy Group, told the BBC: "This sort of trading is less transparent than a fully fledged market. Hypothetically someone could seek to artificially lower the price by making small trades below the prevailing market price that may benefit them.
“The alleged manipulation is said to have reduced the wholesale price, and as such does not imply any knock-on impact on the retail price paid by customers.”
The whistleblower in question had “detected some unusual trading activity on the British wholesale gas market on 28 September 2012”, which it reported to energy regulator Ofgem in October”.
The deals involved were said to have been done below the prevailing market trend. Lordy, if we can’t trust the gas suppliers to be honest and upstanding in their dealings, then who CAN we trust?
If we ever needed some footage of a bear breaking into a shop and nicking all the sweets, now is that time.