Break-up threat to Big Six energy firms

Regulators have called for an investigation into the UK's Big Six energy suppliers amid soaring household bills and rocketing profits.

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Centrica boss: Big energy firms 'absolutely not a cartel'

The boss of Centrica, which owns British Gas, told ITV News the 'Big Six' energy firms are "absolutely not a cartel" after Ofgem's review found evidence of possible tacit co-ordination.

The energy watchdog said it did not find evidence of explicit collusion between the firms but said the timing and size of price announcements were part of the evidence that showed possible tacit co-ordination.

Sam Laidlaw told ITV News he "refutes totally" the idea that the 'Big Six' are a cartel and claimed that the energy market is "vibrant" and "very competitive."

Read: Inquiry a significant moment but it will take two years

Npower: It's time realities of market were made public

The chief executive of RWE npower has welcomed the major competition inquiry into energy firms and said it is "time that the realities of the market were made public."

It's time that the realities of the energy market were made public. Britain has the 3rd cheapest gas prices in Europe and the 7th cheapest electricity prices, and we have taken steps to get to the facts as to why bills are going up.

If there are problems they need to be dealt with, and where the market is operating well this can be acknowledged.

– Paul Massara, CEO RWE npower

Mr Massara added that British consumers deserved a "comprehensive and vigorous investigation" so the public could start trusting energy companies again.

Read: Centrica 'refutes totally' idea 'Big Six' are a cartel

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Centrica boss: 70% of gas will be imported by 2020

ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills has tweeted:

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Centrica boss says coal + North Sea oil have made us feel energy secure. By 2020 70% of gas we use will be imported. "Things changing fast"

Read: Inquiry a significant moment but it will take two years

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Centrica: Uncertainty could damage energy investment

The chief executive of Centrica, which owns British Gas, has welcomed the major competition inquiry into energy firms but said a lengthy review could damage investment when the market's "security is being seriously challenged."

Centrica head office in Windsor, Berks. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Sam Laidlaw said: "Anything that clears the air and helps rebuild trust in the industry must be a good thing. Britain's energy market is highly competitive and we believe that a full independent review by a respected regulatory authority would demonstrate precisely that.

"Competition is working, providing choice for consumers and some of the lowest prices in Europe.

"We hope that a lengthy review process will not damage confidence in the market, when over £100 billion of investment in new infrastructure is needed.

"A prolonged period of uncertainty could damage investment at a time when Britain's energy security is being seriously challenged."

Read: Inquiry a significant moment but it will take two years

Ed Davey will give Ofgem 'whatever support they need'

Energy Secretary Ed Davey will give Ofgem "whatever support they need" after the watchdog announced a major competition inquiry into the 'Big Six' energy firms.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change's Twitter account tweeted:

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.@edwarddaveymp: We will give Ofgem & CMA whatever support they need to get this done as quickly as possible #energymarkets

Read: 'Big Six' energy firms to face major competition inquiry

Martin Lewis: Energy inquiry is 'good but very, very late'

Ofgem's decision to launch a major competition inquiry into the 'Big Six' energy firms marks a "good day but very, very late day", the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com said.

Martin Lewis told Daybreak: "Why now and not five years ago when it could have made a difference?

"Will it mean lower energy prices? I think the hope is a more fluid market will mean relatively lower prices...but don't expect to see your bills coming down by 20 to 30% - that isn't going to happen."

He added: "There's visceral anger that some people in this country have to choose between heating and eating, so I'm glad to see it happen but I do have a little bit of annoyance that there's nothing in this report we didn't know. Why has it taken so long?"

Read: 'Big Six' energy firms to face major competition inquiry

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