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Labour promises tougher energy regulations

Caroline Flint has pledged to replace Ofgem with a more powerful regulator

Caroline Flint has pledged to replace Ofgem with a more powerful regulator

Caroline Flint, the shadow energy secretary, has pledged that if elected, the Labour party would create a new energy regulator with the power to remove licences from energy suppliers which breach regulations.

Flint also criticized the current government for not doing enough to keep bills down: “On David Cameron’s watch, energy bills in Britain have risen twice as fast as inflation, four times faster than wages and faster than almost any other country in the developed world.”

A spokesperson for the Conservative party responded, saying a full investigation was currently being carried out to ensure the energy market was working for consumers.

Ofgem already has the power to withdraw licences

A spokesperson for Ofgem, replied to Labour by pointing out that the current energy regulator already had the power to remove licences from energy suppliers.

However, Labour told BBC News that, at present, as long as energy suppliers pay any fines they are issued, they are free to break regulations repeatedly.

Labour also revealed new figures which show that 16 energy suppliers are being investigated for issues related to poor customer service and mis-selling.

Robinson: Consumers need strongest protection possible

Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch Ann Robinson said: “In a market where around 90% of people haven’t switched energy provider in the last year, it’s even more important that consumers have the strongest possible protection in place.

“Energy bills have risen 168% since 2004, leading to a loss of confidence in energy companies. The Competition and Markets Authority investigation is welcomed but hard-pressed consumers need help in the here and now.

“Consumers can take steps to lower bills now by using energy more efficiently and making sure they switch to the cheapest tariff.”

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