U.K. Lawmakers Urge Transparency by Largest Energy Companies

The U.K.’s six largest energy companies should be ordered to publish the amount of electricity they buy and sell to themselves to improve transparency and build consumer trust, lawmakers said.

Allegations of price fixing last month, currently being investigated by the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets, underline the need for action, the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee said in a report published in London today.

“Even before the recent reports of wholesale price-fixing, we were extremely concerned about the lack of transparency around wholesale prices and suppliers’ trading arrangements,” the committee chairman, Conservative lawmaker Tim Yeo, said in an e-mailed statement. “Ofgem must get its act together. It should require greater transparency around wholesale prices, trading and the link between wholesale prices and supply prices.”

The committee will carry out a further investigation into energy companies’ profits and pricing, which will look at ways that Ofgem can enforce greater transparency, Yeo said. Ofgem is also criticised in the report for being reluctant to investigate anti-competitive behavior.

In the wake of the Libor-fixing scandal that led to a record fine for Barclays Plc, trading in the U.K.’s $480 billion gas market came under the spotlight in November after a journalist at the ICIS price agency reported deals he suspected were being done below “prevailing” levels.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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