The UK energy market investigation proposed by energy regulator Ofgem must begin quickly and be completed as soon as possible to secure much-needed energy bill savings for households and avoid worsening the UK’s energy supply crisis, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing warns today.
Ewing has today written to Ofgem to urgently discuss the timescales of the investigation and warned that against the background of the UK’s worst energy crunch for a generation, a protracted competition investigation has the potential to postpone consumer benefits and stall vital investment.
Earlier this week a new Scottish Government report “UK energy policy and Scotland’s contribution to security of supply” highlighted the benefit of Scotland’s energy wealth in helping keep the lights on and energy bills down across the UK.
Ewing said: “Complacency and confusion on UK energy policy has brought us to the brink of shortages as households power bills remain on an upward trend.
“I welcomed Ofgem’s intention to refer the UK energy market to the Competition and Markets Authority but in the interests of consumers we must have a swift conclusion to the review and effective implementation of the Competition and Markets Authority’s conclusions.
“We believe that the longer the report takes, the greater the risk that it contributes to increasing consumer electricity prices, because until the outcome of the report is known, there will continue to be lack of clarity on pricing. Together with the risk to the security of energy supply highlighted earlier this week, which will also act to drive prices up, it is an imperative that the report is concluded swiftly.
“It needs to be completed within a year if at all possible, but we understand that Ofgem believe it may take 18 months to two years for this report to be concluded – and if so that would risk causing in itself severe problems.”