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UK Energy Firms Guilty of Market Manipulation to Face Criminal Charges

Ever since the promise made by Labour party leader Ed Miliband to freeze energy prices for 20 months in the event of his victory at the next general elections in 2015, energy prices have been top of the political agenda in the UK.

Following the announcement to increase prices by four of the six largest energy utilities in the UK, many MPs have made accusations that the above inflation prices are just an attempt to increase profits, just as energy consumption increases during the colder months.

Ed Davey, the Energy Minister, has now stated that the government may charge energy firms that are found guilty of manipulating the markets, with criminal sanctions.

Related article: Hungarian Prime Minister Reduces Energy Bills by 20%

99% of the UK energy market is controlled by the big six energy firms (Scottish Power, British Gas, EDF Energy, EON UK, npower, and SSE), and Davey suggests that being tough with them is the only way to ensure that they don’t abuse their market dominance.

“I intend to consult on the introduction of criminal sanctions for anyone found manipulating energy markets and harming the consumer interest,” he said.

Currently energy market manipulation is just a civil offence, but by making it a criminal offence the government has enabled the option to charge the company executives for the company’s actions, even going as far as handing out jail sentences.

Related article: Cameron to Cut Green Taxes in Battle over Rising Energy Prices

Reuters claims that the ability to charge companies with criminal charges is already in effect in the financial markets.

In response to Labours bold proposal to freeze energy prices, the ruling Conservative party has said that the only way to reduce energy bills is to introduce more competition to the market. One option to improve competition is creating the ability for customers to change their energy suppliers within 24 hours, rather than waiting the five weeks that are currently needed.

Prime Minster David Cameron has recently stated that the government will set up an annual review of competition in the market.

Caroline Flinn the energy spokeswoman for Labour commented, “we don’t need another review. We need action, action to freeze people's energy bills and to fix this broken market.”

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com



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  • simon scando on November 01 2013 said:
    Energy like enthalpy entropy volume pressure density is a property & a property is any (macroscopic) observable characteristic of a system & a system is any prescribed & identifiable collection of matter.
    the law of conservation of energy tells us what energy is it sates ''Energy cannot be created or destroyed it can only be changed from one form to another.'' the LAW of conservation of energy also tells us what Energy is NOT that is to say The LAW of conservation of energy does not express or state clearly that Energy can have market or Energy can a price.
    British Media would like to think that so called energy market consists of dual fuel; namely electricity & Gas - Electricity is not a fuel what power station do have electric power as an output that is why the industry is called Power Generation Industry & the power is transmitted through Power Lines. The feed stock to a power station is fuel (oil, gas, coal etc) so u need fuel to have electric power; therefore to say energy has a market or a energy has a price; or indeed to say you can set up a company which sells or deals with energy is a Market Manipulation in itself as energy is not a product but a (macroscopic) observable characteristic of a system.
    What we are talking about is purely FUEL! FUEL INDUSTRY & Power Generation all linked together. More the Fuel, Fuel Industry & Power Generation is kept together as one monolith unit the more advantageous it will be from cost point of view, & the charges that the consumer has to bear. More fragmented then the more cost & charges for the electric power

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