Fix Ofgem to fix the “broken” energy market

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This petition calls on Ofgem to:

1.     publish the required fuel mix and complaint-handling data for all of the energy suppliers in the market, not just a select few;

2.     provide clear and unambiguous standards as to how data is calculated and presented, and enforce those standards, and;

3.     include data on whether a supplier is unreported, or reporting a value of zero, and whether the reporting is up to date.

 

From Theresa May, who coined the phrase the “energy market is broken”, to the Labour Party, which has pledged to re-nationalise portions of the market, no one is dealing with one simple and obvious issue:

The energy regulator (Ofgem) is doing a poor job of regulating the energy market.

Dermot Nolan (Chief Executive of Ofgem) has said that, “if [the energy suppliers] fail to keep prices under control or do not provide a good service, they risk being punished as customers vote with their feet,” but went on to say that the energy market “is not as competitive as we would like.” [Utility Weekly, 7th March, 2017.]

The energy market would be more competitive if both Ofgem and the suppliers provided information about service levels in the market. Ofgem already requires that suppliers publish this information: 

1.    As of 2005, electricity suppliers in Great Britain were required to disclose their fuel mix (the proportion of Coal, Gas, Nuclear, Renewable and ‘Other’ sources by which they generate their electricity).

  • At the moment ElectricityInfo.org, not Ofgem, is the best source of data on fuel mix – it is seldom available from energy suppliers’ own websites.
  • In addition, suppliers that have been trading less than a year are not required to provide this data. If they are getting all of their energy from a single generator this loophole is pointless.

2.     All energy suppliers have been required to publish data on how many complaints they get each quarter, since at least 2013.

  • Ofgem do publish data on customer complaints, but only for British Gas, E.On, EDF Energy, NPower, SSE, and Scottish Power (aka the ‘big six’), six mid-sized suppliers, and six smaller suppliers.
  • It is not clear how the selection of the mid-sized and small suppliers is carried out, nor why the regulator only publishes data for only a quarter of the market.

 

Despite months of research for Social Consumer, I have found these “required” data published by only 40-50 of the 70+ energy suppliers currently in the market. In addition, I have found errors in the reporting from some companies.

  • Why did it take an email from me to have one supplier correct their reporting? Isn’t that the regulator’s job? 
  • Why have some suppliers failed to update their data for over six months (customer complaints) and, in some cases, for as long as two years (fuel mix)? 
  • How can a conscientious customer research which supplier they should switch to if the data are not there to do the research?

 

The obvious answer is that Ofgem and the individual suppliers should publish all of it.

 

Image Copyright: davizro / 123RF Stock Photo



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