Ofgem fines power networks £41.7 million for making “excessive profits”

Jo Knowsley 5 December 2017

Reasons include not restoring electricity or repairing gas leaks quickly enough.

Energy regulator Ofgem has fined UK power network firms a staggering £41.7 million since 2010 for making “excessive profits” from consumers.

Reasons have ranged from not restoring electricity quickly enough to taking too much time to attend to gas leaks, according to a report in The Sun.

The largest fine was £15 million meted out to National Grid for anti-competitive practices. The firms, which do not bill households directly, deal with power outages and gas leaks. Last week, it was revealed that they had made £7.5 billion profits last year with some bosses paid up to £5 million annually.

The UK’s largest energy supplier – Centrica, owner of British Gas – lost an historic 823,000 customers from June to October this year as consumers sought cheaper deals.

Centrica revealed in a trading update that it expected its adjusted operating cash flow for the year would be above £2 million but conceded this was disappointing. Energy Helpline said the exodus of customers was “historic” and showed the company’s electricity price rise had not gone unnoticed by households.

Shares in Centrica had their biggest fall in a single day after the announcement, which came after the company raised prices for millions of customers in September, according to the Guardian.

The exodus leaves British Gas with 13.1 million accounts, so it will still be the market leader even after its rival big six suppliers nPower and SSE merge to create a company with 11.5 million accounts.

British Gas had earlier announced that it would launch seven new price plans – which could save Britons £2 billion.

The energy giant confirmed that it would scrap its standard gas and electricity bills, saving each customer around £75 a year.

The move is set to become the biggest industry reform for 15 years with open-ended, or rolling standard variable tariffs, (SVTs) ending from April 2018.

New customers will only be able to subscribe to fixed period deals, which means they have to shop around for renewals at the end of one, two or three years.

Britain’s Big Six are facing a number of regulatory changes after the Government announced that a price cap will be imposed on energy tariffs.

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