Will the Government imprison energy fiddlers?

6 August 2014

energy The Government are getting hardcore on those who fiddle and fix energy pricing.

Possible things that face anyone being wretched with gas and electricity, include up to two years in prison.

At the moment, energy regulators can investigate and throw fines at the rule breachers, but can't throw them in the clink.

According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Government want to start getting tougher on those who abuse the system.

The new sanctions should come into being next Spring after a consultation period and parliamentary approval.

Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said: "Manipulating the energy market is absolutely unacceptable, and these proposals provide a much stronger deterrent - more in line with the approach taken in the financial markets."

"At the moment all we can do is fine (the perpetrators) and that's not strong enough".

Under the new rules, it would be a criminal offence to fix the price of energy at an artificial level or use insider information to buy or sell energy on the wholesale market. It would also be an offence to make misleading claims or conceal facts about wholesale energy prices to manipulate the market, especially if it could affect competition.

The UK's energy companies are being encouraged to improve their transparency (or, to put it bluntly, stop being a bunch of murky herberts), after Ofgem started an industry review last month.

Rachel Fletcher of Ofgem chips in with: "We want the strongest possible deterrents in place to guard against market manipulation and insider trading. We put forward the case to government for greater powers to take action if needed, and we welcome this consultation."

The competition watchdog will unleash a final report based on its findings at the end of next year.

TOPICS:   Utilities

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