Jail for anyone caught rigging energy prices
New government proposals could mean fixing energy prices will be made a criminal offence punishable by two year jail sentence
Energy Secretary Ed Davey has called for those caught rigging wholesale gas and electricity prices to serve up to two years behind bars.
If implemented the new laws would enable Ofgem to prosecute those accused of fixing prices as opposed to simply investigating and fining individuals, the procedure in place today.
According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) the sanctions would also apply to anyone found using insider information to buy or sell wholesale energy.
Davey: ‘We’ve got to stop people cheating in energy markets’
Speaking on the issue, Davey said: “Manipulating the energy market is absolutely unacceptable, and these proposals provide a much stronger deterrent – more in line with the approach taken in the financial markets.”
Energy regulator Ofgem agreed with the proposals.
“We want the strongest possible deterrents in place to guard against market manipulation and insider trading. We put forward the case to government for greater powers to take action if needed,” Ofgem’s Rachel Fletcher told BBC News.
CMA investigation ongoing
The proposals follow the launch of an in-depth investigation into the energy sector, being carried out by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
The investigation will aim to uncover any competition related issues in the sector as well as explore whether the profit margins of the big six energy suppliers are excessive.
The results of the CMA’s investigation are expected to be unveiled in December 2015.