OFGEM is a ‘toothless watchdog’ and allowing SSE to merge with N-Power to make them one of the Big Five – instead of the Big Six – market-dominating energy suppliers will only make things worse in a market that is already failing every household in Britain.
Accordingly, the GMB, the union for energy workers, is calling on the Labour Party to commit to downgrade OFGEM in line with the Dieter Helm ‘Cost of Energy’ report and push for the SSE-N-power merger to be blocked.
The union has written to Rachel Reeves, MP (Labour) Chairman of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee and Rebecca Long-Bailey, the Shadow Secretary of State for BEIS seeking their support.
GMB wants the Brit-govt to use powers under the Enterprise Act 2002 to block the proposed merger of energy companies SSE and N-power on public interest grounds if the Competition and Markets Authority do not launch initiate an investigation.
Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary for Energy said: “The Helm report exposes in great detail how supposed competition in the energy sector is in fact a mirage and radical overhaul is required if stop our vital infrastructure being damaged and consumers being ripped off.
“Having a smaller number of big players as a result of a merger between SSE and N-power would only accentuate further the problems in a “cartelised” market without real competition, effective oversight or strong central direction.
“The Helm report was clear: firstly, it is for the Government to set out an energy policy to guarantee an energy supply that is secure, low carbon and the least expensive without repeating some of the ‘spectacularly bad’ decisions of the past;
and secondly, all the operators in the energy sector are effectively contractors which means Ministers have a duty towards the sector beyond that owed to other industries that are genuinely outside of the Government’s control and direction.
“And any role that OFGEM have in all of this should be greatly downgraded.”
21 Nov 2017