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Energy pricing and the future of the Energy Market inquiry launched

8 December 2021

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee launches an inquiry on Energy pricing and the future of the Energy Market.

The Committee’s inquiry on the retail energy market follows unprecedented surges in wholesale energy prices since the summer and with a number of firms going out of business, including Bulb, Britain’s seventh-biggest supplier with 1.6 million households as customers.

The BEIS Committee inquiry (full terms of reference included below) will examine the extent to which the policy and regulatory environment has contributed to the current issues affecting the energy market, the impact on consumers of rising energy prices, and the operation of the energy price cap.

Launching the inquiry, Darren Jones, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said:

“Too many energy companies have been unable to weather the storm wreaked by surges in wholesale energy prices. Given the current state of the UK energy market and the impact on consumers of rising energy prices, it’s important we examine how the sector slipped into this crisis and what policy and regulatory measures will be necessary to fix it.

“In our inquiry, we will want to hear from energy bosses, from consumers, and from Government and Ofgem about the challenges facing the energy market. We will want to understand how far the energy price cap is able to protect consumers and examine questions of whether there should be a more interventionist approach from the regulator and tougher barriers placed on firms wishing to enter the energy market.”

Evidence sessions for this inquiry are likely to begin in early 2022.

Energy bills and the future of the Energy Market - inquiry terms of reference

The Committee welcomes evidence submissions on the terms of reference outlined below. The closing date for submissions is 31 January 2022.

  • The regulatory requirements companies must meet in order to trade as a regulated entity in the retail energy market.
  • The mandate, role and performance of Ofgem in setting regulation and supervising regulated entities.
  • The performance of previous policies introduced to stimulate effective competition within the retail energy market, and an assessment of the impact on competition of proposed future regulatory frameworks.
  • The functioning and performance of the ‘energy price cap’ and an assessment of its use in the future, and an assessment of the role of auto-switching.
  • The future of Bulb and the recovery of public funds and the cost to consumers of other energy supplier failures.
  • The role of retail market reform in the context of the UKs net zero transition and domestic energy security requirements.
  • The comparison of UK wholesale prices and additional costs with the wholesale prices and additional costs across Europe.

The BEIS Committee’s inquiry follows an evidence session with Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on 22 September, on Government measures to support the energy industry and protect consumers. The Committee also heard from regulator, Ofgem: trade body, Energy UK, and fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action.

Further information

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