Energy Secretary Ed Davey today delivered the annual energy statement in which he said he would reduce switching times from up to six weeks to 24 hours.
Davey added that his department would consider the introduction of criminal charges for anyone found guilty of manipulating energy prices.
Why should energy switching take longer than broadband?
Speaking in the Commons, Davey told MPS: “I am challenging the industry to deliver faster switching. If you can change your broadband provider with a few clicks of the mouse why shouldn’t you be able to do the same with your gas or electric?
“It shouldn’t take five weeks for the change to take effect – 24 hour switching is my ambition.”
He warned that energy suppliers should not use the initiative as an excuse to raise energy bills.
Energy companies will be punished for manipulating the market
Davey was keen to emphasise that energy regulator Ofgem will be granted the power to punish energy companies operating outside of the law.
“Energy companies need to know that any wrongdoing will be uncovered and dealt with. That’s why the regulators are going to carry out annual competition reviews, to make sure the energy market is operating properly.
“We are going to consult on increasing the sanctions for manipulation of the energy markets, so that they carry criminal penalties for the first time,” he added.
New review to probe energy market
Davey’s upcoming review of the energy market was not unanimously welcomed.
Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint dismissed Davey’s plan to carry out a new investigation: “We don’t need another review, we need action – action to freeze people’s energy bills and fix this broken market.”
The initiative is, however, likely to be applauded by Chief Executive of E.ON, Tony Cocker, who recently called for an investigation. He explained a review could be the only way to get the British public back to trusting energy companies.